By Tania Thompson
The Many Ways Red Riding Hood’s Story Has Been Told
The tale of Little Red Riding Hood has been told widely. Seventeenth-century writer Charles Perrault is credited with writing it; some sources say that Perrault adapted it from a medieval story. Playwright Allison Gregory has added a modern twist in her theatre for young audiences play, Red Riding Hood—and SCR’s digital production will be available to watch from April 21 through June 13—professionally filmed and streamed to the comfort and safety of your home. It’s perfect for ages four and above.
The cautionary tale of the young woman and the wolf has inspired numerous adaptations—books, poetry, films, TV series, anime and more. Here are some of the different ways--and media used--that Red's story has been told.
- “Le Petit Chaperon Rouge” (“Little Red Riding Hood”) by Charles Perrault. He included this story in the 1697 book “Tales and Stories of the Past with Morals: Tales of Mother Goose.” This Red Riding Hood had a more sinister tinge to it, as a cautionary tale—there’s no happy ending here—that children should not listen to strangers.
- “Little Red Riding Hood” by James N. Barker. Published in 1827, this 1,000-word story was later reprinted in an 1858 volume called the “Cyclopedia of Wit and Humor”.
- “Kinder – und Hausmarchen” (“Children’s and Household Tales”) by the Brothers Grimm. Inspired by Perrault’s story, the ending has changed so that the wolf is defeated in the end. After several editions and updates, the best-known version of their story appeared in the 1857 edition.
- “The True History of Little Goldenhood” by Charles Marelle, published in 1888, includes a name for the girl: Blanchette. Not to be outdone, in 1890 Andrew Lang’s “The Red Fairy Book” corrects the story of Little Goldenhood by stating that golden hood and cape she wears are enchanted and saves her from the wolf.
- “The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck” by Beatrix Potter. The story parallel’s “Red Riding Hood” with the duck, the fox and the dog likened to Red, the wolf and the woodcutter.
- “Tenura” by Gabriela Mistral. This 1924 book by the Chilean Nobel Prize-winning poet included a short poem about Red Riding Hood.
- "Transformations” by Anne Sexton. This 1971 collection re-envisions 16 of the Brothers Grimm fairy tales.
- “The Doll’s House” by Neil Gaiman (part of “The Sandman” comics, 1995).
- “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowery (1989). Set in 1943, the protagonist runs through the woods, hiding from the Nazis, and tells herself the story of Red Riding Hood to help stay calm.
- “Scarlet” by Marissa Meyer (part of “The Lunar Chronicles). This 2007 loose adaptation of the story follows a girl named Scarlet who tries to find her missing grandmother with the help of a mysterious street fighter called Wolf.
Film & Television<
- Le Petit Charon rouge by Georges Méliès (1901 silent film), with comedy and a happy ending
- Little Red Riding Hood (1922, Laugh-O-Gram Cartoons). An early animated film created by Walt Disney.
- Little Red Riding Rabbit (1944, Bugs Bunny cartoon)
- La caperucita roja (1960, Spanish drama-fantasy)
- “Faerie Tale Theatre” (TV series, 1983, Mary Steenburgen featured as Red Riding Hood)
- “Grimm’s Fairy Tale Classics” (1987, anime)
- The 10th Kingdom (2000, adventure-family)
- Red Riding Hood (2003, horror-thriller)
- Rotkäppchen (2005, German family-fantasy)
- The Brothers Grimm (2005, action-adventure, comedy)
- Red: Werewolf Hunter (2010, fantasy-horror)
- “Once Upon a Time” (TV series; episode, Red Handed, 2012)
- Red Riding Hood (2011, fantasy-horror, mystery)
- Into the Woods (2014, based upon the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical)