Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books


Fall 2015 Picture Books
Ages: 4 - 8 yrs.
Author: Jan De Kinder
Illustrator: Jan De Kinder
Publisher: Eerdmans
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5446-9
Hardcover Price: $16.00

In Red, an all-too-familiar dynamic takes place at school: a bully picks on a victim, and the bystanders are too afraid to speak up. The bully's words and taunts "whisper color" into his victim's cheeks, and still no one helps him. But when one of those witnesses finally does decide to come forward, something special happens. The story, by author/illustrator Jan De Kinder, is simple and the message is clear: sometimes it just takes one person to bring about change. As you might expect in a book with a color as its title, there are pops of red on every page, standing out against the primarily black, gray, and cream tones of the mixed media illustrations. The blushing cheeks of some of the characters help tell the story on their own. It's best suited for younger children, but it does provide a solid reminder of the importance of speaking up and seeking help from an adult when needed.

Zarina Mullan Plath   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Zarina Mullan Plath has undergraduate degrees in both biology and English. Her interests include cookbooks/culinary history, South Asian literature (especially in regards to South Asians in America), and, of course, children's literature. Her poetry is included in the anthology Sweeping Beauty (U. of Iowa Press, 2005). Zarina lives in Central Illinois with her husband, two children, and assorted pets.

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