Amélie Fléchais’s The Little Red Wolf

h1 May 30th, 2017 by jules


“Exhausted by all the fun, he stopped for a moment. It was then that he remembered his poor hungry grandmother. He looked to his right, his left, ahead of him,
and behind him … the trail had disappeared!”


 

I’ve a treat for you today, dear Imps.

Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to see an early copy of a book coming to shelves this Fall from Lion Forge Comics/CubHouse, Amélie Fléchais’s The Little Red Wolf, originally published in French in 2014. The English edition of this story, which turns the classic “Little Red Riding Hood” tale on its head and features a wolf in a red cape, was translated by Jeremy Melloul.

I’ve got some art from the book to showcase today—I’d love to let the art do the talking—but let me do my best to describe to you what this book offers. It’s a story, divided into chapters, that is, at turns, funny and haunting, the tale of a little wolf instructed to head to his grandmother’s house to give her one of the juicy rabbits his mother has recently killed.

The mother warns the little wolf about the forest of dead wood where the hunter and his daughter live and urges him to avoid it altogether. “They are vile and cruel and hate wolves,” she tells him. The wolf, however, gets distracted and strays from his path, ending up right in the target of the girl his mother warned him about. She sweet-talks the wolf into following her. Let us pause here to appreciate the darkly funny moment, right before he meets her, where he sits in sorrow (because he’s ever-so lost) and stuffs himself with the very rabbit he was to deliver to his grandmother. “Hmm, grandmother wolf does not have sharp eyes,” he reasons. “She won’t notice if I eat one of the rabbit’s feet.” Soon, the entire rabbit is gone, as he weeps through his gluttony:

I love it.

Right. Back to the girl. She leads him to her home, all the while singing a song that tells the tale of her mother, killed by wolves. She doesn’t quite finish her song, mind you; they’re interrupted by their arrival to her home, where she eventually imprisons the gullible wolf. It’s there that she finishes her song, the wolf listening in horror in the cage. “You see,” she tells him, “you’re all evil beasts. And that is why we need to kill you.”

The wolf figures he’s done for when her massive father comes home, but the wolf’s mother swoops in to save the day. On their way home, the wolf hears a different song, one telling the same tale of the young woman, who actually loved wolves and was understood by wolves. The woman dies, just as in the first story the wolf heard from the girl, but she isn’t killed by wolves. I can’t bring myself to reveal the twist, but it’s gripping and heart-breaking — and can serve as a wonderful conversation-starter for children about grief and memory and even perspective. And it’s beautifully-illustrated, as is the entire book.

And, on that note, here’s a handful of illustrations, as promised. (The cover above and the illustrations below feature the French text, but I promise an English edition will be available this Fall.) Enjoy!

 


“‘Bring this nice rabbit to your grandmother wolf.
She’s lost her last teeth and can no longer hunt.'”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“‘And so they fell in love, and he laid down his weapons.
And they lived a happy life, deep in the trees.'”


 


“As his eyes got used to the dark, the little wolf could better see his surroundings. …”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“The young girl stopped dancing and sat on the ground, facing him, with a dreamy air about her. ‘We have to wait for my papa now. You’ll see, he’ll be so happy to see you!'”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“‘In fear, the guard took up his weapons again…'”
(Click to enlarge)


 


“The little wolf thought at first it was his father,
but when he took a better look he realized it was a human.”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“‘She would find the wolves, who truly understood her …
And kindly give them the precious capes she wove.'”

(Click to enlarge)


 


“… he could never forgive himself.”
(Click to enlarge)


 

* * * * * * *

All art published by permission of Lion Forge Comics/CubHouse.

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5 comments to “Amélie Fléchais’s The Little Red Wolf

  1. Oh, MAN. The illustrations! And the twisty storyline! This is a really good year for books about wolves; I keep reminding everyone to be on the lookout for Sara Lewis Holmes’ new one coming in autumn…


  2. Cannot WAIT to read that!


  3. Thank you so much for posting these great articles. This book looks beautiful, and I love how different it appears both visually and tonally from most of the work I see being produced in the states.


  4. What. What. I must read this.


  5. Absolutely love these illustrations… what a treat to startle day with this visual feast x


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