Red Again: Barbara Lehman
October 31, 2017
Book: Red Again
Author: Barbara Lehman
Age Range: 4-7
Red Again is a new wordless picture book by Barbara Lehman. Like her other books (see my reviews of Rainstorm and Trainstop), Red Again offers quirky delights that celebrate friendship and make kids think. In Red Again, a boy on a bike (shown on the cover) finds a red book. When he takes it home and reads it, he discovers that the book is about a boy in a boat who also finds a red book. As the first boy reads his book, he see images of the boy in the book seeing images of him. So we have boy 1 looking at a picture of boy 2 looking at a picture of boy 1 looking at a picture of boy 2, and so on. It's fascinating and brilliant. As Red Again progresses, the boys find a way to meet in person, and the red book, cast aside, is found by a girl. Lehman doesn't have to show us what will happen next.
I would have recognized the illustrations as Lehman's work anywhere. The first boy lives in a house in a city, along the waterfront. He travels up regular stairs, circular stairs, and a ladder to get to a glass cupola, where he reads his book (and from where he can eventually spot the boy in the boat). His setting reminded me very much of the settings in Rainstorm. It's not enough for Lehman to make the basic story intriguing, she also adds cool details like a glass cupola, and a telescope. The only red to be seen in most of the illustrations is the book itself, small compared to city- and seascapes, but visible throughout.
As an added bonus, the first boy is African-American. The second boy is white, and from a much more rural environment. But of course no cosmetic differences matter once these two meet under such wondrous circumstances.
Barbara Lehman's work just keeps getting better. Red Again is fabulous, and a book that I expect to keep for the long term. It will make kids think and make them smile. Highly recommended!
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (@HMHKids)
Publication Date: November 7, 2017
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher
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