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Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite
Red loved his family, the Allen clan. His father was Kevin and his mother, Mary, and he had a brother, Bain. Red's name was Irish and it was shortened to Red because of his red-colored coat. They lived in Michigan and the family loved summers. One day they all decided to visit the beach and Red and Bain were very excited. When they arrived at Cape San Blas, finally it was time to walk on the beach. Red had never seen anything so awesome and it was very different from what Bain had described. Red could smell the salt in the water as well as the crabs and fish. He could also hear the fishing boats in the distance and the distinct sound of dolphins. The next morning Kevin bought a bright red and white striped kite. Everyone took turns running with it and they let Red also fly the kite. Bain made a beautiful sandcastle and everyone was happy but that night Red's life changed forever. Boom, Boom, Boom! The fireworks echoed in the night and Red was terrified. He ran as fast as he could and he reached an unfamiliar place where no one knew him.
I Am Red by Linda Heavner Gerald is a heartrending story and the fact that it is a real story about a dog in Cape San Blas makes it even more moving because it will make all readers, especially dog lovers, wish that Red is safe and happy wherever he is. The narration from Red's point of view is detailed and the author captures the beauty of the beach and the ocean wonderfully, making it tangible for young readers. It is a good book for storytelling sessions. It will encourage young readers to be kind and compassionate to homeless animals and make them look at the many Reds that might cross their paths with a different perspective.