Mahogany is the Smarter Version of Little Red Riding Hood

Posted June 18, 2024 by Richetta in Book Reviews, Children's Books / 0 Comments

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Mahogany is the Smarter Version of Little Red Riding HoodMahogany by JaNay Brown-Wood
Published by Charlesbridge Publishing on March 19, 2024
Genres: Juvenile Fiction / Diversity & Multicultural, Juvenile Fiction / Fairy Tales & Folklore / General, Juvenile Fiction / People & Places / United States / African American & Black
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
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A clever, Black contemporary twist on Little Red Riding Hood, Mahogany embraces the beauty—and magic—within herself to thwart the Big Bad Wolf.

Mahogany is a spunky girl who loves to sew, listen to music, and wear fresh kicks. On the way to deliver homemade honey cornbread to Grandma's house, she encounters a hungry wolf. Because Mahogany is clever, she stands by a willow tree, where her long, black curly hair blends with the branches. She hides in the forest, where her ebony skin merges with the shadows. And Mahogany knows the lavender scent of her skin will mix with the smells of flowering plants, tricking any wolf nose.

Ultimately, Mahogany’s Blackness, her wits, and her sewing skills all save her in this refreshing, celebratory, and innovative retelling.

My kids called this book the “smart version of Little Red Riding Hood.” We all really liked Mahogany by Janay Brown-Wood, a new, melanin-rich version of the popular fairytale. The author incorporates contemporary ideas, the importance of nature and the richness of Black culture into this retelling.

Mahogany has a love for fashion and music. In this version, she has designed her own little red cape and is taking delicious honey cornbread to her G’Ma as an errand for her mother.

On her way there, I was a little concerned for her because she was wearing headphones. But the battery dies and her situational awareness immediately kicks into gear right before her encounter with the Big Bad Wolf. 

I love that this version incorporates nature. Mahogany smells like lavender from her lotion and hair products. So her scent blends in with the lavender patch she comes across in the woods and helps her hide from the wolf. Her skin color also gives her an advantage for hiding in the natural colors of the woods. My favorite is what she does with the day lilies!!!

I’m definitely a fan of JaNay Brown-Woods’s books and Mahogany by Janay Brown-Wood is a great new classic to add to your bookshelves. You can have conversations about nature, situational awareness, strangers and fairytale lessons!

Check out more of the author’s current and upcoming books at her website: https://www.janaybrownwood.com/

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