The Red Book

by Barbara Lehman

Barbara Lehman's The Red Book

Children's book review by Steve Barancik

Ages 3-8

A wordless picture book about a girl with a wordless picture book

Picture books without words are all the rage.

Some think of them as beginning picture books, specifically for children who don't have any words yet.

I disagree. (Though they're certainly fine for that purpose.) To me, a pictures-only book actually requires something of the reader (or readee) that a book with words doesn't.

It requires you to figure out the story for yourself. After all, there are no words to help you. For that reason, it's an exceptional tool for developing minds.

And if you're in the market for such a brain-teasing picture book, it'd be hard to do better than with one that won a 2005 Caldecott Honor.

A little girl in a big city finds a red book. In that red book is an island, and on it a little boy. And that little boy...

Finds his own red book. Which features - you guessed it! - a little girl in a big city.

It's magical realism on a small scale, and children will no doubt delight - and take pride - in puzzling it all out.

You'll be pleased to know that the two children find their ways to each other - magically, of course.

And since it's kind of silly for a review of a book without words to have many more words than this, I'm done!

The Red Book at Amazon.

More Caldecott reviews.

More of Steve's reviews.

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