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*Carmine: A Little More Red* by Melissa Sweet

Also illustrated and/or written by Melissa Sweet:

Little Red Writing

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

Christmas Tree

Hanukkah Lights

The Sleepy Little Alphabet: A Bedtime Story from Alphabet Town

Won't You Be My Kissaroo?

Won't You Be My Hugaroo?

Charlotte in Paris
Carmine: A Little More Red
by Melissa Sweet
ages 4-8 32 pages Houghton Mifflin May 2005 Hardcover    

In this imaginative retelling of a favorite tale, Carmine (a.k.a. Little Red Riding Hood) has been taught to read by an enterprising granny who uses alphabet soup to instruct the child. She began with a spoonful of letters, and now Carmine has graduated to a whole bowl. Whenever Granny makes a fresh pot of soup, like today, Carmine is invited for lunch.

Before she leaves the house, the artistic Carmine sorts through her clutter for anything she might need on her journey: pencils, paper and paint. Her mother’s words still fresh in her mind (“Don’t dilly dally. Go directly to Granny’s.”), accompanied by her beloved dog, Rufus, Carmine knows that the route is fraught with danger. When a lurking wolf spots Carmine, she is distracted by a new painting she has begun by the roadside to take to Granny. Racing ahead, the wolf has just enough time… well, you know this story.

Luckily for Carmine, her Granny doesn’t meet the same fate as the original prey, this one hiding in the closet as the hungry wolf gathers an armful of soup bones to take home to his pups. As soon as Carmine arrives, her Granny pops out of hiding; happily reunited, Carmine, Granny and Rufus sip their soup while admiring Carmine’s latest work of art.

The artwork in this book is brilliant and richly colorful, with a layout that introduces new vocabulary words, always used in context with the illustrations. Thinking outside the box, this artist uses both visual images and language to inspire young readers, cartoon balloons filled with Carmine and the Wolf’s dialog as they consider their situations.

A variety of words (pluck, dawdle, mimic and nincompoop) add alliterative rhythms to an already interesting storyline, balanced with lively drawings whose vivid palettes are accented with every shade of red: scarlet, carmine and fuscia. A multi-level reading experience, Carmine is a fabulous addition to a child’s library, a feast for the ears and the eyes, as exuberant as its young heroine.

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  Luan Gaines/2005 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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