The Red Book – a book review

I recently moved from Indiana to Texas. I wanted to give a small token of my appreciation to a dear friend, fellow children’s book lover and wonderful storyteller. This is the book I chose for her:

The Red Book by Barbara Lehman, published in 2004, is a wordless book that is sure to draw in and spark the imagination of your child or children.

What I love aboutThe Red Book:

This book has simple watercolor, gouache, and ink illustrations that will appeal to younger children, but still holds the attention of older school age kids. I love Lehman’s use of splashes of red through out her pastel square images.

The Red Book invites children to bridge the gap between cultures, between seasons, between gender – to soar (literally) to far away places through the power of imagination and story.

A wordless book can be shared without translation to children in other countries. (For list of other wordless books, see my blog post “12 wordless picture books”)

The Red Book will hold your child’s attention, inviting them to turn the page, join the little girl on a fantastical adventure story, filled with surprising twists and turns.

As with many great books, the story ends with suggestions of another adventure, another twist that makes the reader long for more.

Tip: ask your child what they think happens next –

The message of The Red Book will resonate with children and adults alike: storytelling and reading can instantly and magically transport us to other worlds unlike any other activity.

A 2005 Caldecott Honor book

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.” – School Library Journal

Tips on how to read a wordless book:

Recently, on a Facebook page, a group of us were chatting about wordless books. One of the moms and a librarian from Maine, Jennifer Lewis, shared this with us:

I had always assumed one should make up a story to go with wordless picture books when sharing them with children. I always dreaded doing this and so generally avoided them altogether. When I attended a workshop on sharing wordless books with children, the very first point they made was: don’t narrate the story. Just don’t do it. The pictures are designed to tell the story themselves. Just turn the pages and examine the artwork with the children. Answer questions if they ask, but otherwise, let them explore each page for themselves and form the story in their own mind based on the pictures. Immediately after attending the workshop I took a pile of wordless picture books home for the library and tested them on my six-year-old without doing any narration, and guess what: he LOVED them! We “read” each book over and over and noticed new things on each page with each re-read. They are wonderful. My two new favorites are Journey and Quest by Aaron Becker. I would highly recommend giving them a try!”


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