*Thank you to Penguin Young Readers for providing me with a copy of the book. Please note that all of my thoughts are my honest opinions.
A retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with a sassy, sword loving hamster princess, a suspicious little girl in a red coat, "querk"-y riding quails, and strange weasel-wolves, what could be better?
Little Red Rodent Hood is the first Hamster Princess book I have read. I was slightly worried that I wouldn't understand some parts because of the fact that I haven't read the previous books in the series, but Vernon did a great job introducing the characters very gradually and making sure that I was on the same page as everyone else.
The characters, while simple and few, were very distinct. First off, I honestly relate to Princess Harriet Hamsterbone (the hamster princess) so much! She is sarcastic, smart (she likes to apply the laws of physics), sassy, slightly passive-aggressive, and very sword obsessed. (Yay alliteration!) I quickly fell in love with Harriet and loved seeing how she reacted to obstacles in her way. Spoiler alert: She often thinks that violence is the only way, which Wilbur thankfully shows her is not the case.
"Yes! She's the bestest, nicest, kindest grandmother-' 'In the whole wide world?' finished Harriet. 'Yes! How did you know?' 'Lucky guess,' said Harriet."
The book is written with 1/3 of it being in a graphic novel style. At first, it was a bit distracting, but I soon grew to love it. It helped the story to feel more tangible because I could see what the author intended the world to look like. The illustrations also showed more of the characters' personalities. The writing felt slower, there was a lot of build-up, and when I look back at the book, there weren't too many significant events. I do wish that there were faster moments, as there were only one or two which finished quickly.
The book is written with 1/3 of it being in a graphic novel style. At first, it was a bit distracting, but I soon grew to love it. It helped for the story to feel more tangible because I could see what the author intended the world to look like. The illustrations also showed more of the characters' personality. The writing felt slower, there was a lot of build-up, and when I look back at the book, there weren't too many significant events. I do wish that there were faster moments, as there were only one or two which finished quickly.
Talking about the world, it was pretty well developed. There were some parts that were slightly confusing because there was a lot of back and forth as a part was being developed. Take, for instance, weasel-wolves and how one becomes a weasel-wolf/hamster/quail. It seemed like it jumped around, and it got confusing at some parts.
I loved the story's plot. I wasn't really expecting the story to be super different than the fairytale from which it originated from, but I was very pleasantly surprised. There definitely were Little Red Riding Hood elements, but then the characters took on different (and quite surprising) roles. The twist in the book left me shocked. While I did see something along that line happening, I definitely didn't anticipate what happened.
In conclusion, while Little Red Rodent Hood is a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, besides pulling from the characters and the red coat, nothing is the same. I loved how individual all of the characters were and how they all interacted with each other. The writing was a bit too slow paced for me, and there was one confusing part, but other than that, it was smooth sailing! Yes, this book is marketed towards middle grade readers, but I honestly think that younger YA readers would still enjoy this book as I believe that they could see themselves in Princess Harriet.