Simon & Schuster, Sep 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Sara Ferguson, The Duchess of York, has created a new storybook character named Little Red. She is an adorable red headed little girl who lives in Buttercup Cottage on the edge of Bluebell woods. In her adventures, Little Red is accompanied by playmates, Little Blue, Roany the Pony and Gino the Dog. With her magic sack of smiles, Little Red goes on a picnic to Lily Pad Pond with her friends. She demonstrates her fearlessness and bravery when something scary interrupts their fun.
LITTLE RED is an appealing new book written for young readers. This is the fifth children's book by the duchess, who also wrote the BUDGIE THE LITTLE HELICOPTER series. The illustrator, Sam Williams, has created delightful and winsome drawings for the characters, reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh and Peter Rabbit styles. I fell in love with the setting and characters right away. The woodlands, cottage, and tea pot illustrations are lovely.
The inspiration for the book LITTLE RED came from a doll designed for "Chances for Children," a US based charity aimed at helping children. Ferguson says Little Red is a doll she carries to visit children in hospitals, so she thought, why not write stories about her adventures helping people. A Little Red doll is available through FAO Schwarz and all the proceeds go to Chances for Children. The charity offices were located in the World Trade Center prior to the 9-11 attack. During the cleanup and aftermath one of the Little Red dolls was found in the rubble. The duchess views the dolls as a symbol of survival and courage.
I approach shopping for children's books for my granddaughter seriously. If the book doesn't have great characters and tell a good story, why buy? LITTLE RED has both, plus the added appeal of being told by a real live duchess, the mother of two young princesses.
I think this one will be a definite keeper for her and it has a high collectibility factor.
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