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RED LIGHT, GREEN LION by Candace Ryan Kirkus Star


by Candace Ryan ; illustrated by Jennifer Yerkes

Pub Date: May 7th, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5253-0015-8
Publisher: Kids Can

“Red light, green li-”—not so fast!

Readers will eagerly rush to finish this familiar phrase with the word “light,” but a page turn that cuts that fourth word off after “li-” leads to unexpected endings: “green li- / -ghtning,” “green li- / -lac,” “green li- / -fesaver,” “green li- / -ma bean,” green li- / -feboat.” This playful picture book stretches out these surprise endings, keeping children entertained and engaged while positing that life often dishes up the unpredictable. An expressive green lion encounters all these shockers (floating livestock, endangered library books), and his dumbfounded dot eyes, hair-on-end mane, and earnest efforts to get through such a kooky day evoke empathy and laughs. A matter-of-fact, soothing narrative voice admits “some days, nothing goes the way we thought it would. But then something happens that makes the journey easier” and also “[s]ome days, everything slows down, and we may feel stuck. Those are good times to be still and think.” Assured pastel and brush-pen illustrations inscribe a world outlined in simple colors, set atop cloud-white backdrops—it’s an environment that makes thinking about murky concepts easy for young people.

Funny, helpful, empathetic, accessible, and perfect for an interactive group read-aloud or quiet contemplation under the covers.

(Picture book. 4-8)