Caldecott Honor winner Barbara Lehman’s “The Red Book” tells quite a bit of story for never using a single word. Picture books of this nature are often difficult to make a successful, but Lehman managed to create a dreamy and ethereal world in which regular, everyday people find themselves lost when a magical red book suddenly appears without warning in their lives.
“The Red Book” begins with a young girl’s walk to school on a dismal wintry day. When the girl finds a beacon-like red book half buried in a mound of snow, she brings it along to school where she proceeds to open it for the first time. It takes a few moments for the characters in it to realize that they are all looking through the book at each other as a sort of web cam in print form. The girl encounters others through its pages until she drops the book at the end of the day when she buys a collection of helium balloons and flies away. The childrens book falls to the ground, only to be found by another youngster who will no doubt be caught up in the miraculous transforming power of “The Red Book”.
Chicago born Barbara Lehman has illustrated many childrens books over the years, including the 1993 Parents Choice Award winner in the illustration category, “Moonfall”. The inspiration for this ‘book about a book’ came one day while she was taking in the view of the New York City skyline.