'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 19 September 2022

Review: Miss Understood

Little Red Riding Hood is one of the most widely recognizable stories in the world. Over the years, there have been many MANY adaptations of the folk story, from movies to books and everything in between. But, has anyone really gone and thought if it was all just one big misunderstanding? 

Maybe there is no villain, but rather a set of unfortunate circumstances and a touch of bigotry that resulted in one of the most popular stories of the last 400 years?

Miss Understood provides us with the perception of the wolf, who is actually a lovely little old lady that just wants to visit some unfriendly friends. The book is narrated by her and involves her telling us her side of the story “I’m the wolf, Miss Understood. You think I’m bad, but I am good. Those Little Pigs told you a porker – made it sound like I’m a stalker!’

The wolf sets out to see her friends, but when she gets to the first pigs house, the pig sees her and doesn’t really feel like having visitors (as they are quite the bore) and slams the door in the wolf's face. The poor wolf then cops a face full of hay (which is really a very unsuitable choice of construction for a house), but Miss Wolf suffers from some dreadful hay fever. She tries to stop herself, she sniffs and blows, but there’s nothing she can do, ‘but ah-ah-ah-chooooo’. She tries to apologise but the pig runs off squealing lies, ‘the big bad wolf is after me! Wee, wee, wee, wee, wee, wee, wee!’

Similar things happen at the following houses, and afterwards the pigs really drag Miss Wolf's reputation through the mud and no one will play with her (especially little red riding hood) and the wolf is even kicked out of her knitting club with Gran! There is some great tongue-in-cheek humour with axe men, Gran and Little Red Riding Hood, and a sheep outfit. This book is really funny and super clever. The rhyme flows well and makes it fun to read out loud. It went a little over my toddler’s head and would suit a slightly older audience, one who is familiar with the original story and will get the joke.

The illustrations were great and expressive – the comic styled characters suit the story perfectly. It really shows that we never know the full story and it’s important to look at things from all sides and not always believe the first thing you hear. 

Title: Miss Understood
Author: Kathryn Apel
Illustrator: Beau Wylie
Scholastic, $17.99
Publication Date: 1 May 2022
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9781760978310
For ages: 3 - 7
Type: Picture Book