Sarah's Stars

Anne Louise MacDonald. Seeing Red
Kids Can $18.95  ISBN 978-1-55453-291-9  220 pg.
Reviewed by Tyler, Age 13

She leaned against the fence next to me. Her eyes were red and puffy. My chest tightened. “I’m really, really sorry abut Jelly Bean, “ I said.

“It’s not your fault,” said Tim.

“Yeah, it is.”

He frowned at me “No. It’s not.”

Yes, it is.  I saw the hoof prints on the road, and when Slug roared by I got Mr. Chisholm to speed up.  It’s my fault the truck was where it was when it backfired and made Jelly Bean jump on the car. If I hadn’t said anything, the accident would never have happened. It’s my fault.”

The main characters in the story Seeing Red are Frankie Uccello (colour dreamer), Tim (horse lover), Mike (cow lover), and weird Maura Lee (mind reader?).  The setting is in modern times in a small town called Meadow Green.  The main problem is that Frankie Uccello dreams of a black rider falling off a black horse.  At first he wonders what it could mean, but with a jolt he remembers that Tim, his best friend, had just got a black horse to replace Jelly Bean his old horse.  Frankie keeps trying to think of a way to get him to stay away from the horse race next weekend.  Will his plan work or will Tim fall off his horse while racing.  His life seems to hang in Frankie Uccello’s hands.

Seeing Red is an amazing balance between fantasy powers and real life troubles.  The story is full of twists and turns (i.e. Storm Petrel, Birthday Party). This book teaches you about what you can and cannot control. One more reason to read Seeing Red is that the ending is original and interesting. It left me feeling satisfied with Uccello having one last dream.

… but this one was different. This time I knew age was gravity and this would be my last one.

Anne Louise MacDonald lives at Hug a Horse Farm in Nova Scotia.  Other books by this author include The Ghost Horse of Meadow Green, The Memory Stone, and the Dog WizardWhen she was young, the most beautiful and mesmerizing things to her were horses galloping and birds soaring. In her favorite dreams she could fly. She learned a lot about birds and when she was given an injured Storm Petrel in 1987, she struggled for 2 weeks to find the right food for it and to bring it back to health. What happened to that bird made a huge impression on her and in 1989 she wrote about it in a short story called The Wind's Gift. In 2002 she tried to make it into a novel but ended up writing The Ghost Horse of Meadow Green instead. That was supposed to be an easier book, but she finally got back to work on the original project, now called Seeing Red, in 2006. It took her two years to write the book and 6 months to edit it and finally it is here. 

I give Seeing Red 5 soaring stars.

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