February 19, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Red Again by Barbara Lehman | SLJ Review

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redstarLEHMAN, Barbara. Red Again. illus. by Barbara Lehman. 32p. HMH. Nov. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544818590.

K-Gr 3 –Picking up exactly where The Red Book leaves off, the boy who finds the mysterious red book at the end of that story takes it home to examine it in this one. Wordless panels show him looking through the pages at the islands that fans of the first tale will recognize, zooming in until he sees a girl fishing in a boat and finding the red book in the water. When she opens the book, she finds pages revealing the boy in his room. Illustrating the power of a book to connect, she uses her intuition (and a baguette and a seagull) to find her way out of the narrative and to her new friend’s door who, in his excitement, drops the red book. The smart, clean art with smooth bold lines offers so much to observe and puzzle through while telling the complex story effortlessly without the use of text. This title stands alone but pairing it with the first work makes it all the more magical, particularly because the end brings the story into a breathtaking circle. The final page showing a girl finding the lost red book in the snow is from the beginning of the previous volume, deepening the intrigue around the red book and its time sequence while providing many opportunities for discussion and creative thinking. VERDICT Whether being explored for pleasure or for academic purposes, this title will add value to any library collection, especially ones that have copies of its predecessor.–Julie Roach, Cambridge Public Library, MA

This review was published in the School Library Journal September 2017 issue.

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