Princess and the Peas by Rachel Himes

Princess and the Peas

Princes and the Peas by Rachel Himes; illustrated by Rachel Himes. 2017. Acrylic, pencil, watercolor, collage, ink. Published by Charlesbridge

Brief summary: Ma Sally cooks the best black-eyed peas in South Carolina. She says anyone can marry her son if the woman can cook as well as she. John wants to decide on who he will marry. She ignores that. Ma Sally decides to spread gossip that her son is ready to marry and for any interested women to come to her house that Sunday. Three women show up but do not like that Ma Sally wants them to cook. A fourth arrives later named Princess who says she heard there was a competition and would like to try. She cooks black-eyed peas well enough that the mother approves. Princess is not so sure if she wants John though and challenges him to wash the pots and pans. Will they marry?

Comments: This is a  Princess and the Pea variant that takes place in the 1950s.  There is an author’s note and a black-eyed peas recipe in the back of the book. There are several  double-paged illustrations. I feel like I really want to try those black-eyed peas they are cooking.

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Little Red by Bethan Woollvin

Little Red by Bethan Woollvin

Little Red by Bethan Woollvin; illustrated by Bethan Woolvin. 2016. Gouache and digital

Brief summary: A modern, courageous Little Red walks to her Grandma’s and meets a wolf who does not scare her. When she enters her Grandma’s house later on in the story and sees the wolf dressed up as her relative, she pretends to go along. The wolf tries to eat her which does not go well for the beast, since the wise little girl brought an ax inside with her. No damsel in distress for this girl! The ending does show her wearing a wolf cape and not a little red riding hood cape.

Comments: I got a kick out of this version of Little Red Riding Hood, because the little girl was not going to be a victim or in the need of a huntsman to save her. She saved herself. The grandmother is not so lucky. I plan to use this with my primary students making sure they hear the version that the Grandmother gets saved and/or wolf runs away first and then this variant. I hope to see more fairy tale variants with these  strong girl characters from Bethan Woolvin in the future.