The toddler in Kathy Stinson's Red Is Best
has a problem. As she explains on the opening page of this appealing picture book, "My mom doesn't understand about red." Red is Kelly's favourite, and yet her mother is forever trying to convince her to wear other colours. Her mother's reasons are uniformly practical--for example, "Your red mitts have holes in them"--but they fail to take into account the magical powers her pint-sized daughter knows her red things possess. Her brown mittens may be warmer, but "my red mitts make better snowballs." Similarly, Kelly's red stockings help her jump higher, her red boots take bigger steps, and her red pyjamas "keep the monsters away when I'm sleeping."
In Red Is Best, Kathy Stinson takes a simple idea--the clash between the imaginative world of the toddler and the commonsensical world of parents--and develops it with humour and feeling. The enduring popularity of this understated picture book (first published in 1982) is no doubt due to its avoidance of the saccharine language and contrived story lines of so many picture books for this age group. But it also lies in Stinson's understanding of the toddler mind and in illustrator Robin Baird Lewis's lighthearted depiction of the feisty Kelly (who could be a younger sister of that famous 1950s picture-book heroine Eloise). The conclusion to Red Is Best distils toddler logic perfectly. "I like red," Kelly says, "because red is best." (Ages 2 to 4) --Lisa Alward
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This charming story will be an instant favorite.... A delightful little book to read with youngsters. (Brian Orr, M.D., and Donna Raskin Lake County News - Sun (Waukegan, IL)