It’s the Depression, but Red’s family is managing better than most on their Prince Edward Island farm. Hard working and resourceful, they have enough to eat and to help others, even if at times they are mocked by their neighbours for putting education ahead of farm work. Eleven-year-old Red has plenty of chores around the farm, and the days can be long, but he still gets the odd break to go swimming or fishing, provided his homework is done. Red’s older sister, Ellen, teaches at the local school, and if Red doesn’t shine, she will not only punish him, but also make sure their parents hear about it.
But then Red’s father’s hand is seriously injured and the family’s situation looks dire. Red steps up to the challenge, finishing the tobacco boxes that his father makes and helping shovel out a train stuck in the snow. Stubborn and even pigheaded, Red does make mistakes along the way (such as pretending to be dead so that his younger sister will stop following him), but his heart is always in the right place.
I just loved Red. I mean, he was a great character. Would I want to babysit him? Hell no. But the 11 year old in me would definitely like to hang out with him. He gets into so many scrapes he’d make any other kid look like a saint. :0) Seriously though, he was an extremely interesting character and I think that kids will really like reading about Red and all the trouble he gets into.
But the book isn’t just a string of events where Red finds himself in hot water. There are underlying themes of bullying, acceptance and family. Gilmore weaves these together wonderfully so that kids will end up learning a valuable lesson without even realizing it.
That Boy Red takes place on Prince Edward Island and of course I loved that. I also felt that it had an Anne of Green Gables feel to it, which was an added bonus.
Another historical MG book that I loved. Seems I am broadening my reading horizons. 🙂