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Red Sled Hardcover – August 1, 2008
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 1—A father and son go sledding down a hill one snowy night in this charming picture book. The brief text consists of easy-to-read words in rhyming pairs ("Still hill./Far star./Snow aglow"). According to an author's note, the structure of the story-poem was inspired by an ancient writing pattern called chiasmus, "a format that creates a kind of mirror image." Bright watercolor pictures capture perfectly the downcast faces of the characters when they are stuck inside during a snowstorm ("Sad lad./Sad dad"), their expressions of happiness and excitement during their nocturnal adventure on the red sled ("Go! Go!/Whoa! Whoa!"), and their cozy contented smiles as they enjoy hot chocolate back home afterward ("Snug hug"). This is a great book for storytime and one-on-one sharing, and beginning readers will be able to follow the simple language presented in large black script.—Martha Simpson, Stratford Library Association, CT
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A dad, a lad, and a red sled are the just-right combination for a story-poem about a father-son nighttime sledding adventure. The minimal text is mostly comprised of two rhyming words per page that set the stage and describe the action: “Sad lad. Sad dad. Fat hat. Knit mitt. Still hill. Far star. Snow aglow.” The bright, loosely rendered watercolor illustrations embellish the spare text adding a few details here and there, for example, a rabbit witnessing the action and kittens sharing the cozy scene after the sledding adventure. In a short author’s note, the reader is informed that this was inspired by an ancient form of writing called chiasmus that creates a mirror image with words flowing toward a center point and then reversing. The entire 70-word text of the story is then repeated on the page in a sort of concrete poem format to illustrate the connection. This romp can be enjoyed by the youngest listeners, beginning readers, and older children learning various forms of writing. Preschool-Grade 2. --Randall Enos
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Top customer reviews
Red Sled follows a father and son on one snowy evening as they decide to trek up the nearest hill and sled down it.
With minimalist writing, I believe the illustrations really tell most of the story. Most of the sentences were made up of two words and I was wondering, why not just get rid of the words all together? I did not need them to tell me what was going on.
But at the end of Red Sled, there is an author's note from Patricia Thomas that explained her minimalist style and merited a little head nod from me. Thomas indicates the structure of the story was inspired by an ancient form of writing called chiasmus in which a mirror image is created with thoughts, words, and sounds that climb to a center point before descending and reflecting to the end. Thomas adapted the chiasmus structure to create a "hill" with her words that matched the hill in the pictures. When she puts it that way, it seems really clever!
Whether you "get it" or not, Red Sled may be a fun book for the little ones who are more interested in the illustrations than the words anyway.
Recommended for children two to five years of age.
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