Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com
Not classically a Christmas story, THE RED SCARF is a look at life in Arkansas in the fall of 1944. The reader meets a young Richard Mason. He is an eleven-year-old sixth-grader. His best friend is John Clayton. He has a dim-witted dog named Sniffer. And he lives in a small town with approximately 650 residents.
Richard has always had a crush on Rosalie. They've almost been boyfriend and girlfriend. But then Richard does something stupid, like any eleven-year-old boy would do. So to get back into her best graces, he decides he will buy her a Christmas present. Richard has it on the good authority of one of Rosalie's friends that the red scarf in Samples Department Store is just what Rosalie would love.
The only problem is that Richard doesn't have enough money to buy the scarf. At least not since his mom made him spend his paper route money on a new pair of shoes. But that doesn't deter Richard. He keeps getting up at 5am to deliver the newspapers to the townsfolk.
Taking place during the span between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve, Richard tells the story of his efforts to buy the scarf for Rosalie. During the course of the month, the reader gets to experience Richard's daily life. The reader meets many interesting characters from the town of Norphlet. Among some of the most unique are Uncle Hugh, the old black man in the woods that Richard delivers groceries to every week; Bubba, the large cook at City CafÃ©, who's pretty daunting with a skillet; Curly Sawyer, the drunk constable; and many others. The reader also finds out about how accident-prone Richard can be. And the reader gets to experience the hardships on a family during the end of World War II.
Richard's spirit is pure and the story is infective. Mr. Mason weaves a sweet tale in spite of the hardships that his main character has to struggle with. As mentioned in the first sentence, this isn't a traditional Christmas story, but the spirit rings out for a joyous holiday season for everyone.