Lisa Doucet Reviews Adam & Jennifer Young's The Little Red Shed

Lisa Doucet Reviews Adam & Jennifer Young's The Little Red Shed

The Little Red Shed
Adam & Jennifer Young, Illustrated by Adam Young
Breakwater Books
(Ages 4-12)

When a young little shed suddenly discovers that she is no longer white like all of the other sheds she soon faces hostility and rejection from her friends. Now that she is red, the others won’t include her in their activities. She feels sad and lonely, ashamed of being so distinctive. 

In despair, she boards a boat and sails away. In the middle of the ocean she meets a humpback whale who sees things very differently. Unlike her friends back home, he thinks the Little Red Shed is beautiful and wisely points out that “nothing would be beautiful if we all looked the same.” 

Buoyed by this new perspective, the Little Red Shed heads for home, where her burgeoning confidence in herself inspires her friends to be open to change themselves.

This brightly hued and beautifully illustrated celebration of individuality offers a heartfelt look at diversity for young audiences. The bold and exuberant illustrations adroitly depict the Little Red Shed’s despondency and how deeply she is affected by the rejection of her peers. 

Even though she believes that she is the same inside, the other sheds refuse to see beyond her external appearance, and she feels forced to accept their take on things as the truth. When she makes a new friend, who sees her as beautiful, that is just what she needs to accept herself regardless of what the others think. 

This cheery, simple story imparts many important and powerful messages about self-acceptance, the importance of kindness and recognizing beauty in others and how believing in yourself can inspire others. Simply told in sprightly rhyming text with vibrant, folk art style illustrations, it is a timely and very relevant reminder of the need to embrace differences.

Lisa Doucet is the co-manager of Woozles Children’s Bookstore in Halifax. She shares her passion for children’s and young-adult books as our young readers editor and book reviewer.

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