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An exceptional adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood

Red Red Red Riding Hood

Isabelle Vandenabeele & Edward van de Vendel

Red Red Red Riding Hood is mad about red: red toys, red clothes, red food... Unfortunately, though, her days aren’t red but grey. Every day, her mother sends her into the dark forest with a snarl. Her grey grandma is waiting for her on the other side with another snarl, because she’s late and the tasty food she’s brought isn’t good enough. One day, though, she encounters something new in the forest, something black. The wolf is big and the wolf is bad but, more importantly, he offers her a chance to escape.

A work of art
Zilveren Penseel jury

This adaptation of the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ classic is one to remember, with Edward van de Vendel giving the fairy tale a dark and exciting twist. Little Red Riding Hood remains the familiar protagonist, but this time is a self-aware and determined girl who knows what she wants. And what she wants is red.

Isabelle Vandenabeele’s illustrations are a perfect fit. Thanks to wood-carving techniques, she creates rough and graphic illustrations that help increase the tension. Her colours too are chosen to strengthen the story: the more Little Red Riding Hood gets what she wants, the redder and redder the illustrations become. It’s a book that draws on every corner of your imagination: the gaps left in the text and illustrations leave room for the wildest of fantasies.

An expressive, graphic style reminiscent of Frans Masereel’s wood-cuts
‘Intelligently uses the limitations of a difficult technique’
Eduardo Felipe and Ju Godinho, curators Ilustrarte

'We first came across the work of Isabelle Vandenabeele in 2003, when she participated in ILUSTRARTE 2003 (Portugal’s Illustration Biennale). She sent in three pictures from her first book, 'Red Red Red Riding Hood'. We were immediately struck by the force of her illustrations. She visited the exhibition and explained that her initial plan was to use woodcuts to produce small author editions of her books. We had the privilege of seeing, touching and smelling one of these magnificent objects, at the frontier between picture books and artists’ books. Isabelle Vandenabeele intelligently uses the limitations of a difficult technique, woodcut, to compose, with her great talent, exceptional pictures. She sacrifices detail and a rich colour palette in favour of a rigorous and synthetic visual language, resulting in surprising, unforgettable compositions.

The books that followed, A Creepy Girl, 'Me and My Shadow' and 'Prelude of a Broken Love' are again exceptional examples of her unmistakable style. This last book won the ILUSTRARTE Grand Prix in 2009. We still remember the impact that her pictures had on the jury: “Oh, these are true woodcuts!” In only a few books, the force and originality of Isabelle Vandenabeele’s work has gained her a top position in international contemporary illustration. And we’re not at all surprised!'