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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Red is a red fishing stage, a wooden building on an elevated platform commonly found off the shores of Newfoundland, Canada. A stage is associated with the fishing industry and is used to land and process fresh fish, preparing it for salting and drying. Fishing is a tricky business: some days are good, some not so good. Red decides he’s had enough of the uncertainty and embarks on a journey across Canada to find a better job. Like so many other Newfoundlanders, Red discovers that he is not alone and the job pickings across the country aren’t much better than what he had and what he knew best at home in Newfoundland.
Corey Majeau’s picture book story, Just a Stage: A Newfoundland Story, is a charming tale told in the lilting voice of a Newfoundland storyteller. Written in rhyming verse and accompanied by quirky, colorful illustrations, this story will appeal to young and old alike. It sings a song of the island province’s fishing industry and the lure that draws so many to seek something better on the mainland. As the plot develops, and Red makes his epic journey across Canada, the reader can’t help but think of home, where the heart always rests. And, for this colorful little stage, home is Newfoundland. There is a saying that you can take the Newfoundlander out of Newfoundland, but you can’t take Newfoundland out of the Newfoundlander. The rhyming verse really brings this story to life and the author has an inborn talent as a Newfoundlander storyteller. A story told with compassion and quirky attention to detail.