It’s never easy being a toddler, having to deal with the word, No, and getting used to having legs that walk and a mouth that talks. And every toddler feels frustrated sometimes; they scream, they shout, they see RED! With limited life experience they have yet to encounter the coping mechanisms. Red, Red, Red is the new book from Polly Dunbar (A Lion is a Lion) which is precisely for sharing with those that are somewhat overwhelmed by their emotions; a positive tale about a toddler tantrum that suggests an alternative, meditative method of calming down,“Why not count to ten?” Mum suggests to her child. “One … two … three…breathe.”

Polly Dunbar studied illustration at Brighton Art School and now lives and works in London. Author and illustrator of Penguin, Dog Blue and Flyaway Katie, she is an advocate of colour offering vibrancy and a more cheery disposition. She is the illustrator of My Dad’s a Birdman and The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon, written by David Almond, and Here’s a Little Poem, an anthology of poems for very young children. It’s interesting to see that books that she has both written and illustrated, as they have both eccentric and vivid elements to them.

Red, Red, Red is a wonderfully illustrated rhyming picture book for three year olds and up, exploring the course of wants and gets. Centring around a biscuit jar, which is located way too high, with a lid jammed on tight, this book from Polly Dunbar uses onomatopoeic words to express the frustration, and makes the entire story extremely relative. At some point in our lives we’ve all been there, the toddler adamant that chocolate is for them, or the parent, attempting everything to calm that toddler down from indeed seeing red.

With illustrations vivid, and expressive, we see everything from the red crayon scribbles toddlers can inscribe on everything to the wriggling and writhing from having twisted pants when they are going through one of their, “everything is just not working for me” moods. And we as adults can all definitely relate to those too, this one is not just reserved for the toddlers. There is a drawn advocacy of counting to ten to meditate, and find calm and peace again. Only once this has been achieved does the toddler acquire a biscuit, and thus, there is a key message about rewards from listening and doing. With a great message for toddlers, and fresh, vibrant illustration, this will be a fantastic resource for mums that are dealing with one too many tantrums.

Red, Red, Red is available from 1st August 2019, published by Walker Books.