June 10, 2020

The Little Red Shed

Written by Adam and Jennifer Young
Illustrated by Adam Young
Breakwater Books
24 pp.
Ages 3-7
May 2020

In this allegory about the need for diversity and acceptance of all, a little red shed is excluded by the other maritime sheds for looking different. Timely, poignant and relevant.

The little red shed was once white, like all the other sheds, but she has turned red and the other sheds think this is wrong.
From The Little Red Shed by Adam and Jennifer Young, illus. by Adam Young
She feels excluded and tearful. Even more distressing is the fact that, though she feels like she is the same shed she has always been, she is now ashamed of how she looks and takes herself off, boarding the Ocean Queen boat for the anonymity of the sea.

From The Little Red Shed by Adam and Jennifer Young, illus. by Adam Young

There a humpback whale welcomes her, delighted in her colourfulness, telling her that, "Well, nothing would be beautiful if we all looked the same." Feeling hopeful and befriended, she returns home and proclaims her self-acceptance to the others, demonstrating the value of differences and emboldening them to change.
What was once a bundle
without colour or hue
was now a RAINBOW
vibrant and true.
From The Little Red Shed by Adam and Jennifer Young, illus. by Adam Young
From worry and despair through compassion and hope and finally self-appreciation and diversity, The Little Red Shed offers a lesson for young children to accept themselves as they are, not as others decide they should be. It's an important lesson but a difficult one, as the little red shed realizes, first being ashamed for her differences and exiling herself to avoid the discrimination she feels. Newfoundlanders' Adam and Jennifer Young make sure the text is minimal, enough to carry a story, choosing words that are absolute in their power and naturalness. From declaring the little red shed to be "wrong" to her feeling "sad and alone" to something that is "beautiful" and finally being given the moniker of the "brave little shed" when she is no longer distinguished by her colour. The voice of the story is ideal for young children, helping them understand that differences are not a curse but a gift.

With Adam Young's bold and colourful art, the story is carried from the darkness and despair of stormy blues through the hope of green and ending with the vibrancy of the rainbow of sheds and water and landscape. There is so much movement and emotion in Adam Young's illustrations that the story of the little red shed becomes an odyssey of self-discovery and colour that every reader can and will appreciate.

1 comment:

  1. The beautiful message within this gorgeous book just makes me want to travel to Newfoundland even more! Next year, next year...