The Red Prince

Longlisted for the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award Picture Book Category

Picture Book Title: The Red Prince

Authors: Charlie Roscoe & Tom Clohosy Cole

Publishers: Templar Books

ISBN: 9781783702213

When the beloved King and Queen of Avala leave their land and son behind to go on a grand tour, the country is invaded and the prince captured. Imprisoned in a fortress, he is left feeling alone and without hope, until one day an opportunity arises and he seizes the chance to escape. Once out, he realises that he is far from alone and that his country are rallying behind him, ready to rebel against their invaders.

The Red Prince is a tale of courage, hope and patriotism which can be used as a springboard for many discussions about politics, revolution and human rights. The premise of an imaginary country much like one found in a fairy tale allows this to be done within the safety of ‘make-believe’ but there are some truly important issues touched upon within the narrative.

The stunning use of colour and perspective helps create the right atmosphere for the story, supported by the use of frames which moves the narrative in a cinematographic way; this helps greatly with conveying the action and peril of the tale. 

All ends well with a positive resolution, but the beautiful landscapes, reminiscent of Eastern Europe and indeed Russia, might also allow for comparisons with possibly darker historical revolutions.


Reading activities:

Read and compare with David McKee’s The Conquerors (Andersen Press) another picturebook which offers an alternative perspective of invasion.

Writing activities:

The King and Queen are visiting different fairy tale lands on their grand tour. Write a postcard from one of their destinations

The prince has been writing a journal while in prison. Write a journal entry and include how he might be feeling and what his hopes and dreams might be for the future.

Cross curricular activities:

Art – use the first spread with the four vignettes as inspiration for students to create a graphic-novel style introduction to their “everyday life” (family, friends, home, favourite hobbies etc).

The book includes a WANTED poster for the Red Prince. Design a MISSING poster for the prince as his subjects might have created when he disappeared.

Geography – use illustrations as a springboard to investigate climate in Eastern Europe/Russia.

History – with older students this could be linked to research about revolution, particularly Russian (which can be linked to The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell, also longlisted for the award) as well as the significance of colour in revolution.

PSHE – discuss and investigate worldwide issues of the ethics linked to invasion a country