Review of Red and Green and Blue and White

Red and Green and Blue and White
by Lee Wind; illus. by Paul O. Zelinsky
Primary    Levine Querido    32 pp.    g
10/21    978-1-64614-087-9    $17.99

The author begins: “On a block dressed up in Red and Green, one house shone Blue and White.” He goes on to introduce a boy named Isaac and his best friend Teresa, who lives across the street. Isaac’s family is Jewish and Teresa’s is Christian. Both kids love to play in the snow, count down to the holidays, and eat cookies with lots of colorful sprinkles. Then one night an act of antisemitism shatters the idyll: someone throws a rock through Isaac’s front window, breaking the menorah. After reporting this vandalism to the police, the family, understandably frightened, nevertheless decides to light the menorah again the next night. “If they didn’t, Isaac knew it would be like hiding they were Jewish. That didn’t feel right.” Teresa makes a drawing of a menorah and hangs it in her window in solidarity. Soon hundreds of friends and neighbors join in to show their support, choosing to put their community first and to be (per the appended note touching on the real-life events that inspired the book) “UPstanders” instead of “BYstanders.” Zelinsky’s (most recently All-of-a-Kind Family Hanukkah, rev. 11/18) masterful use of light and shadow captures the celebratory joys of the season as well as the sinister undertones of the story. Several scenes are lit by streetlights or headlights of passing vehicles, and most pages are bathed in the soft glow of holiday lights against a dark blue sky. Everykids Isaac and Teresa are lively and openhearted, the lights of the future, “Stronger Together, Burning Bright.”

From the November/December 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Luann Toth
Luann Toth

Luann Toth is a former reviews editor at School Library Journal. She holds an MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh.

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