Last year, a friend of mine and I drove to Jonesboro, Tennessee for the Annual Storytelling Festival. As we drove, we talked about many things: religion, performance and, of course—folk and fairytales. I mentioned that I had heard that in the original version of “Little Red Riding Hood,” the wolf devoured the little girl and her grandmother and there was no rescue. She informed me that in the original folktale, the wolf was in actuality a werewolf !!! This really opened my eyes to the way stories develop and change over the centuries and I wondered if I would ever find the oldest version of the story simply referred to as, The Grandmother’s Tale. Imagine my surprise, when a few months later, I sat with my gift certificate to Borders Bookshop in my wallet, looking at the shelf of folktale, folklore and fairytale books to find this book. Without hesitating, I bought it and devoured it in a few days!!! This book was tailor-made for anyone interested in the historical impac! t of fairy and folktales.
This book is filled with a wide variety of versions of the Little Red Cap folktale, complete with detailed analyses following each version. Orenstein provides the reader with historical and contextual analyses, leaving little to the imagination. What I loved most about this book is that Orenstein doesn’t just focus on literary examples, she also discusses commercial art marketing, Tex Avery cartoons, modern film adaptations, psychology, and social and sexual politics as they pertain to Society and how the folktale has been reshaped and remodeled to fit in with the changing morals of a particular society. Orenstein has done a wonderful job with the research for this book and I recommend it highly for anyone interested in the socio-political, psychosexual aspects of folk and fairytales. You’ll never look at a folktale the same way again. (written by Rob McCabe)