Monday, January 26, 2009

Hoe rooier, hoe mooier!

That's Afrikaans for the title of my latest fave book. I plucked Kathy Stinson's Red is Best off the library shelf last week simply because of the fabulous title, sure I'd found a treasure. And, I was right — about red, and this book. Red is my favorite color, and this little book is so very perfect. It captures the spirit of many of the little people I love, and with such lovely prose. I mean, who wouldn't be delighted by these lines: "My mom says, 'You wear pink barrettes with a pink dress.'/But my red barrettes make my hair laugh./I like my red barrettes the best."

And, perhaps, best of all, I happened to check out the 25th-year anniversary edition of the book with a couple entries written by the author (Stinson) and illustrator (Robin Baird Lewis). The note by Lewis, describing her motivation for her illustrations of the character, made me smile and laugh out loud because, in it I see my Madeline: "... that quintessential female child, 3 years old going on 30, who strides through her world with devastating clarity and confident insight. With not a little pity in her kindness, and full of generous enthusiasm, she is more than happy to explain it all, so that you can understand what to her is the obvious."

Stinson's opening reflects this character so well; "My mom doesn't understand about red." They've captured the wonderful spirit of a fun age, and the plucky kiddo you read this to will likely see themselves in these pages. Don't just check it out... this one's a keeper!

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