Thursday, 7 May 2015

Book review - Little Red Riding Hoodie, by John Phythyon

Little Red Riding Hoodie is undoubtedly Phythyon's best work yet. The story of a young girl completely parentified and struggling to act as defacto head of her household due to her drunken father's incompetence is beautifully interwoven with the more arcane and sinister events.

Phythyon wisely avoids too much explanation, so that the sinister figures appearing in Sally's dreams are never fully identified; this lack of complete information gives the story an exquisitely frightening quality. A small but valuable didactic element relating to racism and homophobia is also beautifully handled, given to us as an engaging and very realistic conversation between two children.

Phythyon's characters are beautifully drawn, consistent and utterly believable, from the ruined alcoholic father, through the nice teacher and the mean teacher, to the developing boyfriend, sincere but unsure of himself, and the wise-cracking Alison with her fondness for insulting remarks in execrable schoolgirl French. Alison's French alone is a small wonder - Phythyon has caught just the right level of a beginner at the language trying to extrapolate from a very limited grammar and vocabulary.

Bound to be a delight to children and adults alike, Little Red Riding Hoodie is available from AMAZON.

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