This Caldecott Honor–winning book about a book is a delightful, wordless tale about the power of stories, perfect for fans of Brendan Wenzel and David Weisner.
A red book is lying in the snow in the city. When you open it, you find a new kind of adventure. You will be taken across oceans and continents when you just flip the page. But this book-in-a-book holds even more secrets to discover.
Lehman’s simple story line and surprising illustrations create an unexpectedly enchanting story about friendship, connectedness, and how stories can bring us together . . . and even bring us inside their pages.
Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 6–This perfectly eloquent wordless book tells the complex story of a reader who gets lost, literally, in a little book that has the magic to move her to another place. On her winter-gray walk to school, a young girl spies a book's red cover sticking out of a snowdrift and picks it up. During class, she opens her treasure and finds a series of square illustrations showing a map, then an island, then a beach, and finally a boy. He finds a red book buried in the sand, picks it up, opens it, and sees a sequence of city scenes that eventually zoom in on the girl. As the youngsters view one another through the pages of their respective volumes, they are at first surprised and then break into smiles. After school, the girl buys bunches of helium balloons and floats off into the sky, accidentally dropping her book along the way. It lands on the street below and through its pages readers see the girl reach her destination and greet her new friend, and it isn't long before another child picks up that magical red book. Done in watercolor, gouache, and ink, the simple, streamlined pictures are rife with invitations to peek inside, to investigate further, and–like a hall of mirrors–reflect, refract, repeat, and reveal. Lehman's story captures the magical possibility that exists every time readers open a book–if they allow it: they can leave the "real world" behind and, like the heroine, be transported by the helium of their imaginations. –Kathy Krasniewicz, Perrot Library, Old Greenwich, CT
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PreS-Gr. 2. In this wordless mind trip for tots, Lehman develops a satisfying fantasy in a series of panels framed with thick white borders. The effect is of peering through portals, an experience shared by the characters as they independently stumble across enchanted red books that provide them with a videophone-like connection. Though wordless picture books often seem to be the province of fine artists indulging in high-concept braggadocio (as in Istvan Banyai's 1995 Zoom), Lehman's effort ensures child appeal with an unaffected drawing style and a simple, easy-to-follow story line about a friendship forged between a city girl and a faraway island boy. The message about the transporting power of story will moisten the eyes of many adult readers, but children will most appreciate the thought-provoking visuals, in which characters' actions influence the course of their own storybook narratives--likewise affecting the larger "red book," cleverly packaged to mimic the shape and color of its fictional counterpart. Ideal for fueling creative-writing exercises. Jennifer Mattson
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Lehman's story captures the magical possibility that exists every time readers open a book.
School Library Journal, Starred
Simple, nicely drawn, and a friendly toast to the imagination.
The author's simply drawn art...is appropriate to a pleasing puzzle that will challenge young imaginations and intellects.
Barbara Lehman has illustrated many books for children, including The Red Book, which was awarded the Caldecott Honor in 2005. Born in Chicago, Barbara attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, where she earned a BFA in communication design. A full-time illustrator, Barbara says, “Books and art have always held the strongest attraction for me. I have always felt drawn to ‘commercial art’ because of its ability to reach many people. I like the idea of being part of the media in a meaningful and thoughtful way, especially with children as the audience.” She lives in the Hudson Valley in upstate New York. Visit her website at www.barbaralehmanbooks.com.