Little Red Riding Hood – it’s a story we all know by heart. Generations have grown up with it and, even today, anyone over the age of four can tell you the tale of the sweet little girl in the red cloak and… the big bad wolf. This summer the world-famous story is brought to life in the children’s gallery at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Young visitors will find themselves in a fairytale world thronged with artworks, where they can draw, read or listen to the fairytale on headphones. They can even dress up as Little Red Riding Hood, the wolf or the grandmother and act out the story to their hearts’ content.
From 26 April, visitors to the children’s gallery will feel as if they have walked straight into a giant peep show. Little Red Riding Hood will be there, in a mysterious painted forest of gnarled trees. So will the big bad wolf, of course, but – no need to be scared! – here comes the brave huntsman, all ready to rescue the situation. There will be a table with red stools where kids can draw or read (or where parents/ grandparents can read the story aloud to them) and a corner where they can listen to the story (in Dutch) on headphones. Finally, there will be plenty of room to play around grandmother’s bed. Kids can dress up as Little Red Riding Hood or don a mask and nightcap to turn themselves into the wicked wolf pretending to be grandmother.
Whichever activity they choose, children will find themselves at the heart of an installation of attractive and appropriate artworks. This takes the form of a diorama: a huge peep show inside the gallery. The back wall features a series of Jacoba van Heemskerck’s paintings of mysterious woods and trees. There is also a stuffed wolf and – from the museum’s Fashion collection – a huntsman’s outfit and a real Little Red Riding Hood: a little girl dressed in a costume designed by Piet Zwart. Other works on show include not only items relating directly to the story, such as Wijnand Nuyen’s painting Little Red Riding Hood, but also drawings of squirrels by Theo van Hoytema, an owl sculpture by John Rädecker, an abstract red-and-white composition by Bob Bonies, and a tree-shaped coat stand designed by Ineke Hans.
On sale in the museum shop are two recent (Dutch-language) editions of the story: a new version of the well-known Gouden Boekje, told by Annie M.G. Schmidt and now issued by publishers Rubinstein as a picture book, and audio book Roodkapje, read by Anne Vegter and published by Cossee.