Thursday, July 17, 2008

#72 SECRET AGENT Are You Hooked?

Title: Rhoda Belle Red
Genre: Read-aloud book

Rhoda Belle Roberts loved anything red. She owned eight red dresses. She wore shiny, red shoes. Even her hair was bright red.

Rhoda Belle ran to the kitchen. Scrambled eggs with ketchup and toast with strawberry jam—her favorites!
Rhoda Belle hugged her dog, an Irish setter.
“Let’s take Spice when we walk to school,” Rhoda Belle’s mom said.
“Yippee!” Rhoda Belle shouted. Spice barked and wagged her tail.

Rhoda Belle buttoned her red coat. She put on her red hat. She was ready to go.
Mrs. Miller was walking her poodle. Gigi wasn’t red, but still she was a pretty dog. Mrs. Miller stopped to pet Spice.
“Rhoda Belle,” Mrs. Miller said. “You have the perfect Christmas pet.”
“I do?”

“Spice’s auburn fur would look great with a big, green bow.”
“What’s auburn, Mrs. Miller?”
“It’s a shade of red with some brown mixed in.”
Rhoda Belle thought about this. “So auburn means more than regular red?”
“It sure does,” Mrs. Miller agreed.
“Wow!” Rhoda Belle danced down the sidewalk. She had one new color to love—auburn.

Mr. Peterson was weeding his garden.
“Good morning, Rhoda Belle,” the old man said. “Would you like a scarlet rose?”
“Aren’t the flowers red, Mr. Peterson?” Rhoda Belle asked.
“They sure are. But they’re a red so bright it’s called scarlet.”
Rhoda Belle now had two new colors to love—auburn and scarlet.


  1. No. My favorite part is contrasting the red to the green which really accents the red. I like the all red all the time and that the story was going to go in a different direction. It needs more action than dialogue for this age group, don't think it would keep my young daughter's interest.

  2. I can see how you are showing a child there are many different shades of red and that is a good idea. Just punch the story up a bit to get the intended reader involved and I think the story would work.

  3. I like the concept, but there doesn't seem to be any conflict. No mounting problem to over come - which you should have even at this age. It can be as simple as, "No, I don't want Spice to wear a black bow." But she needs to arrive at a conclusion - maybe that black looks good with red because there's red in black -but there's got to be an aha! possibility after a struggle and I don't see either happening.

  4. Afraid not. Ditto on the lack of conflict. Also, the beginning sections are just setting up the character by info dumping what we'll need to know to understand the story. There are no transitions between the sections.

    Also, "read aloud" is not really a genre. Just a suggestion of how to read a book.

  5. As a book for teaching children about more than the most common colors, I think it works. Rhoda Belle is darling. If I had smaller children, I'd read it to them. As for me alone -- no. I don't tend to read a lot of picture books for fun.

  6. If I were a teacher, I would love this book. It's cute and informative. But I don't think "Read Aloud" is a genre.

    I'm interested in seeing what other shades of red are introduced and how. I'd read on.

  7. I'm

    It seems written to be a picture book. Like each scene is written for a picture, and I couldn't get an idea of an actual plot.

    Um... I think it could work if you show Rhoda going through her day and encountering red things and learning the different words (as you have). Basically show a connection between the different scenes.

  8. I'm somewhat hooked on the concept, but not the story as it is right now. I agree there needs to be some conflict, maybe Rhoda wants a dog, but she can't find a red one for example. I like how she learns about other shades of red, but I think it needs be weaved into a stronger story line. It has potential.

    I do love the title.

  9. It's cute, but I don't know the genre or age range at all, so I don't know how it would work. I would read the rest, as I like the concept and think it's a cute idea. :)

    Good luck,


  10. Yes, but...

    I like the concept and I can see kids enjoying this picture book.

    But as others have mentioned, there is no tension/problem/challenge for Rhoda Belle to overcome. For instance, is she frustrated that she has only one word for many shades of red?

    As a nit-picky detail, I also felt the transition from paragraph 1 to 2 was abrupt.

    Good luck! I think you have a fun idea.

  11. Hooked.

    I think it's cute. Um, conflict might help make it more engaging but I think it's alright.

  12. I'll caveat that this is not the kind of project I would necessarily do, so it's tough for me to really gauge. As a sweet story about the many colors of red, I think you're off to a good start but I wonder how big the market for something this specific would be--how engrossing are these discoveries to the reader?

  13. Yes, I love it. I see the conflict as trying to find different colors of red. It's not written for an adult audience, so I don't think that looking at it as so really shows it in its best light.

  14. This seems perfect for an educational press that specializes in read aloud books for beginning readers and sells the direct to schools. From a teaching kids to read perspective, this looks great to me.

  15. I was going to say no until I hit the end and realised what you were up to. I like it a lot :D

    The para about her having breakfast/hugging her dog feels jerky and more like a list of actions than anything else, but if you can tidy that up it'd be great :)

  16. Yes.

    I enjoyed the energy and curiosity of the mc. It's a fun way to introduce alternative color names to young children.