Book of the Week: Betsy Red Hoodie

Betsy Red Hoodie by Gail Carson Levine Illustrated by Scott Nash

Published: 2010 by HarperCollins

Reasons why I liked this book, and chose it as Book of the Week:

The (front) endpapers are HYSTERICAL. They portray the flock of sheep dressed in hats, sporting guitars, and chatting among one another. I particularly love the little one who announces that he wants to be a wolf one day.

The sheep are convinced that one of their shepherds is a wolf in disguise.

Betsy is so excited to be “old enough” to go to Grandma’s house all by herself. This is a life changing moment.

But she worries what will happen to the sheep? She is a shepherd and her flock needs tending.

Zimmo, another shepherd, who looks suspiciously like a wolf – that is if wolves dressed in striped yellow pants, with a grey vest, and a yellow scarf.

He explains that Grandmas don’t like wolves. Especially since one was eaten by a wolf.

But Zimmo wouldn’t do such things.

On the way to Grandma’s house, Betsy, the flock of sheep, and Zimmo sing a doo wop song that consists of: “Waa paa Wooo! Baaa! Maahaa has! Do woppa woo!” Catchy isn’t it?

“Cows say mood. Is he a cow?”

Betsy fully believes that Zimmo is a good wolf, one who’s never hurt a human or a sheep. But he is eyeing those cupcakes!

Betsy and the sheep like to pick flowers.

Before arriving at Grandma’s house, Betsy is stopped by a lady hunter who warns her of the dangers of hanging out with a wolf.

Everyone but Betsy believes that he wolf is going to eat everyone and everything. I really love how this fact alone portrays the hope that lives within children, and that should live within adults.

Even the sheep start to turn on Zimmo. Especially when they see him licking his chops. They urge him to eat grass instead.

These are some chatty sheep!

“What do grandmas look like? They have big eyes, the better to see you with. THey have long arms, the better to hung you with. They are long in the tooth, the better to chew with.”

“What do wolves look like? They have big eyes, the better to see you with. They have long arms, the better to hug you with. They have long teeth. They look a lot like grandmas!”

Zimmo runs ahead of Betsy and the sheep. Making even the reader suspicious of his motives.

Betsy is having a hard time gaining control over her flock. One is sitting up in a tree, tweeting, pretending to be a bird. They others won’t move due to rain pouring down on them.

When they finally …. finally reach Grandma’s house Betsy’s suspicions are confirmed – she sees Zimmo and another wolf sneaking around, lurking really, around the house, trying to find a way in.

Scared and determined, Betsy rushes down the hill, and into Grandma’s house only to find a party – for her – in full swing.

Oh, that other wolf? It was Zimmo’s grandma!

I love how this book was suspense filled.

And how even though it’s a retelling of a favorite story, it’s unique and full of new surprises.

Betsy’s birthday party is great! When blowing out the candles on her pink iced cake she wishes for more good days just like the one she just had. Though the sheep have several theories on what her birthday wish really is: more sheep? for her yummy looking pink cake to turn into green grass? To be a sheep one day?

There are many morals to this story: “wolves are good for grandmas. Some wolves are grandmas. ¬†Some grandmas are sheep? And some books never end.”

But I believe the best moral of this story is: not to be so judgmental and to trust your instincts.

I loved Betsy as a character! She’s honest, brave, and wears a spunky red hoodie!

The writing is spectacular! It’s not only strong, it’s fun!

Young readers and old readers alike will really enjoy discovering a new twist on an old tale.

The illustrations are great! They’re vibrant and are the perfect compliment to the text.


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