Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Lost and Found Fox: Red by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Red is Red is Red. It's a color--a color associated with Christmas, Valentine's Day, the brightest crayon in the box.

But for a little lost fox searching for his mother, there are many reds in his long journey.

Dark red is the deepening color of his coat in the darkening forest in the approach of twilight. It is a lighter red in the light of the sunrise on his coat. Red is the color of rising fear as he wanders through the woods looking for home, the bright red reflectors of the railroad crossing warning in the headlights of a green truck, the old red of gone-wild roses on a fence around a house where a boy stops his ballgame to stare at him. It's the color of wet soil turning into red mud in the rain, and the danger of rusty nails in a wooden fence.

It's the color of blood on his hurt foot, and of the autumn leaves and the tempting fallen apples on the other side of a chain link fence, and it is the sad color of an old brick wall in his way. It is the tempting red of a piece of meat inside a catch cage, and the red of rage and anxiety when he is captured.

But it is also the warm feeling of trust, as a girl sets him free, and the warmth of his mother's happy love as she finds him at last.

Red is the color of many emotions, in Caldecott author-illustrator Laura Vaccaro Seeger's latest picture book, Red (Holiday House, 2021), the third of her series of stories of evocative colors blended with a family's history, Blue and Green.

Deep and moving, this trilogy is filled with expressionistic acrylic paintings done on a lovely textured surface that opens up the emotional involvement of young readers. With a simple easy-to-read text filled with feeling, the Wall Street Journal's reviewer says, "Laura Vaccaro Seeger has wrought meaning and serendipity from the permutations of a single hue". As an affecting series of family life and a delicately realized introduction to the symbolism of color, this one should not be missed.

Laura Vaccaro Seeger is also a Caldecott Medal winner for her illustrations in Green and First the Egg (Caldecott Honor Book and Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor Book (Awards)). (See reviews here).

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