Wicked Red Riding Hood

story by Margaret Mahy , illustrated by Tohby Riddle

Write a listicle with a clickbait title using information from the story.

After reading the story as a class, ask students if they’ve heard of other stories that deviate from popular fairy tales, perhaps putting the villains in a more appealing light. Examples may include Disney’s Maleficent, The TRUE Story of the Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf (as told by Jon Scieszka), Wicked by Gregory Maguire and Disney’s Cruella.

Explain to students that they have been hired by Lucy, who wants to spread the word about the alternate story of Little Red Riding Hood. Ask students how they might get the story out quickly. Once students have discussed going viral on the internet (the third definition on Dictionary.com’s page on viral), ask what sort of things go viral. Students may recognise that videos on Tik Tok, memes and Reddit/Facebook posts can be spread quickly. Explain that students are to write a listicle for Lucy using a clickbait title. Ask if anyone knows what this means.

Ensure students understand that a listicle is an article that has a list, usually with some extra detail. Each item in the list often include links, pictures or screenshots. For extra information, visit process.st’s page on listicles.

Explain that to get people to read their listicle, students should create a clickbait title. The definition can be found on Merriam-Webster’s page on clickbait, with a more detailed explanation (including examples) on GFC Global’s page on What is Clickbait?

To start, ensure students understand what they need to have in their listicle. It should include variations to the story of Little Red Riding Hood to give readers a new understanding of the old fairy tale. Ask what kind of clickbait title students can use to draw readers in. Sample answers include:

- Seven Things You Didn’t Know About Little Red Riding Hood (#4 will shock you!!!)

- You Wouldn’t BELIEVE These Nine Lies from the Story of Little Red Riding Hood

- The Truth About Little Red Riding Hood: 11 Things That Will Blow You Away

Students go through the text to note information that would shock readers if they knew the truth. Sample answers include:

- The grandmother was an old Robber Queen

- The grandmother wanted the wolf’s pelt as her fur tippet

- The wolf Flora was tricked into the house by Little Red Riding Hood

- The wolf Flora was a vegetarian (apart from the occasional rabbit)

Once they have enough information, students type up their listicle on Word or another digital program, with a heading and pictures/links/screenshots or whatever else they think will keep readers engaged. Remind students that each item on the list needs to be short and sharp (usually only a sentence or two, with a single picture or screenshot). Explain that listicles often have an uneven number of items, which seems to appeal more to readers.

Students can either display their work on the board or print it out to hang around the classroom.

EXTENSION: Students create another listicle in the same style but using a different villain-turned-hero (or victim), such as the sea witch from The Little Mermaid. They can write a narrative about it first if it helps with their facts.