RED RED RED by Polly Dunbar


by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 2 - 5
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This British import serves up lessons in emotional regulation, with a side of biscuits.

The young protagonist of this picture book has light brown skin, curly dark hair, and a taste for biscuits. (This British term for what Americans call cookies is preserved in the American edition.) Via first-person narration, the child thinks out loud while climbing a stool to reach a cookie jar high on the shelf—until “CRASH! BANG! BUMP!” Mum (who shares the child’s coloring) comes running to provide comfort, but she can’t head off her little one’s ensuing fit. Upset about the fall, the child rages, “My socks are down. My pants are twisted. / I want...I want...I WANT A BISCUIT!” A climactic spread gives the protagonist of Molly Bang’s When Sophie Gets Angry—Really Really Angry (1999) a run for her money. It depicts the child in a full-blown tantrum, spiky red lines emanating forth to dominate the page and bold, block letters filling one half of the spread to evoke furious yelling. Patient Mum intercedes and helps her child count to 10 to calm down while Dunbar’s art, typography, and symbolic scribbly lines combine to depict the child eventually relaxing. A scene of deep breathing precedes the final reward of a biscuit, and then another to stave off any risk of additional tantrums.

Help for coping when the cookie crumbles. (Picture book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-68464-026-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Kane/Miller
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2020


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