Reviews for Pretty Salma : A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa

Booklist Reviews 2007 February #1
In this playful fractured fairy tale set in Ghana, Salma encounters big, bad Mr. Dog while she is shopping on the wild side of town. Ignoring Granny's message ("Don't talk to strangers"), she is tricked into giving him her pretty things. He then tricks Granny into thinking he is Salma. But Salma dresses up with the mask of the bogeyman, and with help from storyteller Grandpa, she sends the bad dog on his way. Daly's line-and-watercolor art, more folkloric than that in his popular Jamela's Dress (1999), shows a mixture of the traditional and the contemporary in a Ghanaian urban setting--a man in a Western-style suit with a briefcase walks next to a woman carrying her shopping on her head. Add this lively version to other comic retellings of the Red Riding Hood story and other beloved tales. ((Reviewed February 1, 2007)) Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2007 Fall
Salma goes to market and, like her predecessors, fails to heed Granny's warning not to talk to strangers. Wily Mr. Dog frightens her away and heads for Grandma, but this little girl is no helpless victim. The contemporary Ghanaian town is busy and bright in Daly's jaunty, colorful illustrations. African folklore motifs are incorporated throughout. Copyright 2007 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2007 April #1
The South African writer/illustrator branches out to create an unusual version of the popular rural European cautionary tale set in contemporary urban Ghana. When Pretty Salma strays into the "wild side of town," Mr. Dog fools the innocent, trusting girl into giving him her basket, her sandals, her ntama (a wrap-around skirt), her scarf, her necklace and even her song. He uses his disguise to take over Pretty Salma's place in Grandmother's home (a role reversal), but Salma wises up in a hurry and thinks up a plan to foil his attempt to eat "granny soup." With her storytelling grandfather acting as Anansi, the well-known spider trickster of West Africa, her young friend playing the clapping sticks and Salma herself masked as Ka Ka Motobi the Bogeyman, the band of traditional characters rescues Granny from the clutches of the wily cur. The watercolor and computer-generated illustrations abound in funny details, but some may find the large, white eyeballs shared by Granny and Mr. Dog to be somewhat stereotypical. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 April #3

The story of Little Red Riding Hood is reinvented for a new audience in this colorful retelling of the classic fairy tale. Set against the backdrop of West Africa, the famous red-caped heroine expands her fashion horizons by donning a more culturally appropriate ensemble than the classic red hood ("Salma put on her blue scarf, her stripy ntama, her pretty white beads and her yellow sandals"). Detailed illustrations play out a multi-hued environment bustling with activity, from the natives carrying food in baskets on their heads, to cars driving by, crammed with passengers. Initially Daly sticks to the traditional storyline, sending Salma out on an errand to help Granny and then encountering the wolf-like Dog. The latter character is somewhat less frightening than in the original story, making some threats that he fails to follow through on. The author then mixes the plot up a bit by employing some African-influenced devices like a boogeyman mask and native drums. In fact, it is these tools, along with help from Salma's grandfather, that help save the day and reverse the endangered Granny's fate. This version will appeal to a new generation of readers with its fast pace, vibrant imagery and final universal message where good triumphs over evil. Ages 5-8. (Apr.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2007 April

K-Gr 3-- Daly's boldly colored illustrations perfectly match this West African incarnation of the classic story. Pretty Salma is sent to the market by her grandmother and told to come straight home, but she takes a shortcut through the wild part of town and encounters Mr. Dog, who tricks her out of her basket, sandals, ntama , scarf, and beads. Mr. Dog scares Salma off and he goes to Granny's house to trick her. Meanwhile, Salma finds her grandfather in his Anansi costume telling stories in the village square and the two of them quickly set off to rescue Granny. The cartoon-style paintings capture the sights and flavor of the setting and add dimension and humorous details to this modern version of a timeless tale. Enjoyable on its own, this story would be especially fun combined with and compared to the many other "Little Red" stories available.--Genevieve Gallagher, Murray Elementary School, Charlottesville, VA

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