The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang is an eerily fascinating children’s picture book. Originally published in 1980, this book is reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood with a folksy twist.
This wordless book tells the story of a tranquil old woman out to the market for fresh berries who unknowingly is being stalked by the Strawberry Snatcher. When this berry eating thief’s plan is foiled by a skateboard riding, eel toting woman, he chases the old woman around town for her berries.
There is so much depth in the illustrations of this book that I found myself studying its pages for its many hidden treasures. Bang uses many artistic techniques to create suspense including the use of negative space imagery to hide her characters in plain sight.
While the initial reaction for some might be that this book is not for kids, I would disagree. I immediately became enthralled in the cat and mouse chase that ensues and found my imagination spiraling with each page that I turned. Because this is a wordless book instead of a traditional wordy folktale, it is appropriate for all ages. And the great part is that you can tell the story a new way each time you pick it up. If you need further convincing, this book also won the 1980 Caldecott Honor Book Award as well as several other distinguished honors.
Review by Trinika A.