Book Review: Cassie and the Woolf by Olivia Snowe

Cassie and the Woolf is a middle grade book written by Olivia Snowe and illustrated by Michelle Lamoreaux. This fractured fairy tale takes Red Riding Hood and gives it a modern twist. It all starts when Caleb Woolf spots Cassie Cloak. She's carrying a huge box of food in the rain, and he is very hungry. Caleb rushes ahead to grandma's house and does what he has to in order to get some food. Unfortunately for Caleb, Cassie and her grandmother are smart and get revenge for his actions.

I am a fan of reinterpreting and twisting up fairy tales, particularly when there is something honestly unique about the twists. However, while Cassie and the Woolf was well written it was not my favorite attempt at Red. First the good; I like that we have good characterization- we get a glimpse as to Cassie's life and her family as well as the particulars of her grandmother. Best of all, we get glimpses of why Caleb is who he is and how he became so desperate. It is not thrown in the face of the reader though, it is woven more subtly through the story. I liked the modern take on the tale, with the red rain coat and the real world setting. What I did not like was the retaliation taken by Cassie and her grandmother. I am all for teaching someone a suitable lesson, but I found their efforts a little extreme and very risky for everyone. While a dark or grim tale is expected, I think the limits were pushed a little too far for my taste. I was also left with the nagging feeling that had Caleb just asked for food, or Cassie noticed that her school mate was hungry, the whole conflict could have been avoided?

I think readers that seek out fair tale reinterpretations might enjoy Cassie and the Woolf, and it was well written, I do not feel that I can recommend it across the board. The resolution is a little to extreme in my eyes and might give the wrong message about vigilante justice to those that feel picked on or wronged. I think it would mostly appeal to mature readers in the middle grade or young adult age groups.

About the Illustrator:
Michelle Lamoreaux was born and raised in Utah. She studied at Southern Utah University and graduated with a BFA in Illustration. She likes working with both digital and traditional media. She currently lives and works in Cedar City, Utah.
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