cover image Red Sled

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.)