Touch Stone Book Review

Young, Ed. (1996). Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China. London: Puffin Books.

Children’s Book for Ages 4-8 or Pre-School to Third Grade

The Story of Lon Po Po is a Chinese version of the traditional European Fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood. This book is very similiar to the traditional European book as I expected it to be. However, there are three little girls in the book, Shang, Tao, and Paotze, instead of the traditional book which has one little girl. The Wolf tricks three little girls into thinking he is her grandmother, yet Chinese words are substituted in the book. For example, “Po Po” is a Chinese word for grandmother. The children suddenly realize there “Po Po” is really a wolf. I really didn’t expect the story to have three little girls working together devising a plan against the wolf. I really enjoyed that unique twist.

I thought this book was crafted carefully and with great thought. The author, Ed Young, really took the traditional Red Riding Hood Story and made it his own. He changed the plot from having one girl to three girls. He created the three girls to work together against the wolf. He also added a traditional Chinese twist by using Chinese words for grandmother and he introduced readers to gingko nuts to the story.

This story made me think about learning about other cultures. I think this is a simple and fun way to introduce young children (4-8 years old) to other cultures. It allows children to learn a few words in Chinese and a little bit about the scenery in China from the illustrations and descriptions.

The issue in the book is clear, the girls are trying to get away from the grandmother aka the wolf. The girls need to devise a plan to get away from the wolf. I like this issue because it teaches children some very important lessons such as follow your instincts, stay away from strangers, how to problem solve, and how to work as a team. This leads to some prompts you could ask a child while reading this book such as “What would you do if someone tricked you into their house?,” How could you get away?,” “Why should you not go into strangers houses?” and so much more.

I really enjoyed the book. I thought it teaches children great, valuable lessons as mentioned before. It also shows them culture through the setting in the trees of China. The plot is similiar to the traditional Red Riding Hood book so it would be easy to read them that version first and compare it to this one. It shows them this in an easy, fun way.

An easy lesson plan could be:

Objective: Students will discuss the story of Little Red Riding Hood and Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China. Students will discuss the similarities and differences of each book.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What are the differences between the traditional book and Ed Young’s version?

2. What are the similarities between the traditional book and Ed Young’s version?

3. Which book did you like the best and why?

Links to Outside Resources:

Lon Po Po Multicultural Activity

Lon Po Po Lesson Plan Link

Lon Po Po Scholastic Activities

Compare and Contrast Ideas

This book would be easy to teach a lesson on comparing and contrasting as well as teaching another culture.

By raquelgomez3

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