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The Red Scarf
     

The Red Scarf

by Anne Villeneuve
 
Amazing stories can be told with almost no words, as Anne Villeneuve demonstrates in The Red Scarf, originally published in French as L’echarpe rouge.

One day, a taxi driver finds a red scarf left behind in his cab by a customer. Determined to find the scarf’s owner, the cabbie unknowingly walks into a world filled with strange

Overview

Amazing stories can be told with almost no words, as Anne Villeneuve demonstrates in The Red Scarf, originally published in French as L’echarpe rouge.

One day, a taxi driver finds a red scarf left behind in his cab by a customer. Determined to find the scarf’s owner, the cabbie unknowingly walks into a world filled with strange characters: a friendly lizard, a mischievous bear, a fearsome lion and his tamer, a daredevil, and a mysterious magician. Before he knows it, the cabbie becomes part of the show. Young readers will relish this almost wordless picture book about a seemingly ordinary day, which quickly turns into an extraordinary adventure.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
On a gray day Turpin, a taxi driver, finds a red scarf abandoned in his cab. As he tries to return it, he follows the owner, only to experience a series of adventures delineated with no words at all. In a sort of circus, he encounters a frog on a unicycle, a bear on roller skates, and a lion who seems to swallow both him and the scarf. The lion tamer rescues him and points him toward the scarf's owner. As he follows him, Turpin finds himself in the spotlight of the circus ring. There he watches the scarf go from frog to elephant to juggler. A monkey snatches it and climbs to the tightrope. Following him, Turpin falls into the owner/magician's magic box, and ends to applause with the scarf but without his hat. The book ends with the frog chasing Turpin in his cab to return his hat. Dark black outlines create Turpin, while additional intense textured colors produce the circus characters and settings. Like a comic strip, the tale is told in a series of comic vignettes, several to a page, including enough information and emotional content to make a text unnecessary for enjoyment. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Publishers Weekly
This nearly wordless tale, a gentle slapstick routine, draws attention to a Quebecois illustrator whose work is not well known in the U.S. (Villeneuve’s art for this book won a Governor General’s award when it was first published in French in 1999.) Turpin, a taxi-driving mouse, finds himself in the middle of a circus performance as he tries to return a red scarf to the magician who took his cab to the circus. The protagonist’s Everymouse qualities can be read in his calligraphic ink outlines; he’s always drawn in black and white despite the color that explodes around him. Villeneuve draws the horror, fright, bravery, doubt, embarrassment, and gratification that cross Turpin’s face with a few deft strokes. His mission turns out to be no easy task; he negotiates with a lizard on a unicycle, gets swallowed by a lion, and chases a monkey across a tightrope before finding the magician. Luminous artwork captures the circus’s hot spotlights, and the big red scarf serves as the perfect MacGuffin. Villeneuve’s creation brims with insouciant charm; it’s a lovely addition to a bookshelf. Ages 5–7. (Feb.)
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—In this nearly wordless book, Turpin, a white mole, serves as taxi driver to a mysterious caped man who leaves behind a scarlet, fringed scarf. Determined to return the property, kind Turpin follows a trail leading to a circus, where he gradually encounters a roller-skating polar bear, a turbaned monkey, and a ravenous lion before he accidentally becomes part of a magician's (his fare) act. Excitement seems to end with the mole keeping the red scarf as a gift—but as he exits, a monkey follows in the distance with the cap Turpin left behind. Villeneuve's muted crayon palette gracefully swirls and smears scenes from city to center ring. The cartoons keep the action at forefront, with minimal backgrounds and energetic compositions. This gentle comedy with familiar adventures at the big top will please young audiences.—Gay Lynn Van Vleck, Henrico County Library, Glen Allen, VA
Kirkus Reviews
It's just another day for Turpin, a mouse taxi driver, until a mysterious passenger leaves a red scarf behind. Determined to find his former fare, the good-natured cabbie is soon immersed in a world full of colorful characters, each leading him closer to the black-cloaked man and into the heart of a real, live circus. After unknowingly performing in a series of big-top feats, Turpin finds the scarf's owner and saves the show, only to forget his own hat with his newfound friends. Villeneuve's almost wordless adventure runs and leaps with the little Turpin. Her loose, expressive artwork-cartoonish without hard edges and colored in pencil or pastel with significant information drawn in ink-naturally flows across the page; its stream-of-consciousness style is seemingly as unpremeditated as the cabbie's next move. From the character design to the hand-lettering, the overall work comes from a place that still appreciates craft. With multiple illustrations per page, the narrative is self-explanatory and thus could serve as a reader's first comic. A plucky and fully enjoyable adventure. (Picture book. 4-8)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780887769894
Publisher:
Tundra
Publication date:
02/09/2010
Pages:
40
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

ANNE VILLENEUVE’s art has appeared in magazines, ads, and so many children’s books that she’s lost count. Her illustrations for children’s books have won her many honors, including the Governor General’s Literary Award – Children’s Illustration and the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for L’echarpe rouge (The Red Scarf), which she both wrote and illustrated. According to Anne, happiness can be found at the end of a dock. She loves Romeo and Juliette, her cats. They like her too, as long as she gives them food. Anne Villeneuve lives in Quebec.

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