Red Sled

Lita Judge. S&S/Atheneum, $16.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4424-2007-6
With a few well-chosen sound effects, a cozy winter landscape, and a group of enthusiastic, four-legged sledders, Judge (Strange Creatures: The Story of Walter Rothschild and His Museum) creates a story that’s both cuddly and smartly paced. “Scrunch scrinch scrunch scrinch scrunch scrinch” is just the noise a bear’s padded paws might make walking across the snow as he nicks a red sled he finds leaning up against a house—he’s intent on a little evening recreation. “Gadung gadung gadung gadung” is the noise the sled makes as it courses, shuddering, down the hill under the combined weight of the bear, a moose, and a rabbit. “Sssssffft” is the sound it makes as the three carve out a turn past a tree with a couple of curious raccoon pups and an opossum on it, then “Whoa” as the spectators drop onto the crowded sled. Judge makes the animals fuzzy and well-padded without slipping into sentimentality. Her spreads are lucidly drafted, the action is easy to follow—peppy, but never frenetic—and the conclusion is both inevitable and satisfying. Ages 2–5. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/17/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
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