Review: Lily Blue Riding Hood

Lily Blue Riding Hood: A Purim Story

by Sandy Lanton, illustrated by Kim Barnes

Intergalactic Afikomen, 2023

Category: Picture Books
Reviewer: Arlene Schenker

Lily Blue Riding Hood is pure delight, giving the reader a smile or a laugh on every page. Author Sandy Lanton remakes the Little Red Riding Hood fairytale into a perfect Purim story with a spunky, skateboarding Jewish heroine and even a Jewish big, bad wolf. The reader will know he’s Jewish when he exclaims “oy vey.” Pickle-baller Grandma lives in a Florida condo, so for those who live there, or for readers with parents or grandparents there, this brings another knowing smile. As a bonus for parents, the book models proper safety measures for riding a skateboard. 

There’s a Purim spiel played for a diverse crowd, with Thaddeus Wolf playing the most fitting character. It ends with Lily, Thaddeus, and Grandma all engaging in a mitzvah together. Back matter includes a hamantashen recipe and a short explanation of the holiday.

Lily Blue Riding Hood is a good candidate for a Sydney Taylor Book Award--its Purim theme, humor, cultural Jewish vibe, and readability all live up to the award criteria. Kids and their grownups will want to read this over and over. And some “readings” will be just to savor the wonderfully colorful and detailed illustrations by Kim Barnes which greatly add to the humor and appeal of this book. 

Ed. Note: This title was included on the Association of Jewish Libraries Spring 2023 Holiday Highlights list.

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Reviewer Arlene Schenker has a degree in Child Development from Cornell University and a Juris Doctor from New York University Law School. She has worked as a New York City primary grade teacher, a lawyer, divorce mediator, and a community activist and volunteer. She now spends most of her time reading and writing picture books.