Belgian writer/illustrator Jan De Kinder has written a story about a young girl who stands by, watching a friend suffer—not an easy topic for a picture book. But it's something that I'm sure many six- and seven-year-olds can relate to, though they might not be able to put their experience into words.
The book shows both the pain of the boy who is bullied (because he blushes) and the pain of his friend watching and doing nothing.
The character's emotions are easy to read. The dominant colors in the illustrations are red, cream, and black, and are created with ink, pencil, charcoal, aquarelle, acrylic, and collage. They have a clear, graphic style that adds drama, especially to the wordless spread depicting the girl when she finally musters the courage to stand up for her shy friend.
For such a loaded subject this book has a light touch. Red is an elegant story about the bravery of everyday life on the playground.
Thanks to Eerdmans for the the review copy.
Jan De Kinder, trans. from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson.
Release date: 03/01/2015
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