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Red Ranger Came Calling
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Red Ranger Came Calling

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  875 ratings  ·  117 reviews
Using glowing, hypnotic images and a funny, provocative text, the narrator relives his father's most amazing childhood Christmas.

A moody young boy living with his aunt on an island, "Red" Breathed sees himself as the "Red Ranger from Mars", his hero from the movie serials, and cannot picture life without the gift of a Red Ranger bicycle. Red is far too "swanky a human bei
Paperback, 32 pages
Published September 1st 1997 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published 1994)
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4.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  875 ratings  ·  117 reviews

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Dec 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
I love reading this book to my 4th grade students. They are so proud that they are older and question the Santa Claus idea. Then when the book is over they have no idea what they think anymore. Crazy word choice and a long read aloud but so worth it
Jan 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
A truly unique book with the most unique ending ever. My dear friend Nikki, an avid reader and goodread's contributor, gave me this book for Christmas.
I will be using this book (thank-you Nikki) as a ninth grade writing challenge. I'll read the book, then ask students to consider the unusual geographical or man-made landmarks in their own city or state and then instruct the students to write their own legend--quirky, funny, serious--sort of in the same way that we retell the legend of the Indian
Dec 04, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommended to Rebecca by: Kari
Shelves: children, holiday
This book has been among my Christmas collection for a couple of years, but I avoided reading it because of the disturbing cover. At the encouragement of a good friend, I courageously opened the cover and began to read handed the book to my husband and made him read it aloud.

With the emotional distance this provided, I found the story wonderful (definitely worth four stars) and, though I was hesitant to look at them, I only truly disliked five of the illustrations.

Amelia steals the show.
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm a fan of Breathed's Bloom County comic from way back; so, when I found this gem at a book fair I had to pick it up. Not only is Red Ranger Came Calling full of some great full page illustrations, but the Christmas tale that is told is endearing and could easily be made into some sort of holiday movie special. This is also a great picture book for mom, dad, grandma or grandpa to share with the grandchild on a winter's night.
Jan 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-for-school
Excellent picture book for teaching the following: Foreshadowing, character roles, character as catalyst, character development, conflict and conflict development (man vs society, man vs man, then man vs himself), significance of setting in plot, character as protagonist/antagonist, skillful use of figurative language
We can't say enough about this clever, hysterically funny, eventually heartwarming tale of a Red Ranger-obsessed, sour young boy and his misadventures. If your family celebrates Christmas, a reading of this book could easily become a treasured annual tradition. The book contains lots of sophisticated vocabulary, but the pictures and context should allow children in first or second grade and up to access the story.
Dec 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Ok, so i have always been a fan of Opus, and Bloom County, one of my favorite comics. But this story reminded me of the types of stories my dad would tell, and the way he would tell them. The story is great, the illustrations are magnificent, and my boys love the book almost as much as I do. It is my new favorite Christmas read. Or at least it still is, as i bought it several years ago, and just rediscovered it.
BTW, Berkley Breathed is a veritable genius, as if you didn't know.
Dec 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
My brother told me about a mystery on Vashon Island and while I was doing a little research about it, I read about this book. It was already among my Christmas books so I decided to read it again. Its from when my kids were much younger.. Its a fun story, great illustrations and it captures the magic of the season.
Jun 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Possibly Berke Breathed best picture book, this story of a disillusioned boy searching for Santa Claus is a charmer. There's a lot of words, and smaller children will not "get" it, but the pictures are glorious and the ending is a killer.
Hannah Greendale
Nine-year-old Red Breathed fancies himself the Red Ranger, rescuer of damsels and slayer of space Nazis. To truly master his role as the Ranger, Red must have an Official Buck Tweed Two-Speed Crime-Stopper Star-Hopper bicycle, and he's willing to do anything to get it - even venture to the ramshackle lighthouse at the edge of town where a crotchety old man, rumored to be Santa Claus, resides.

Red Ranger's story is wholly reminiscent of the 1983 film, A Christmas Story, in which young Ralphie lon
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
A slice of life on Vashon Island, Washington, in 1939, this story is based on real events and real characters. A young boy shunted around from place to place by his parents typically spends his Christmas holiday with Aunt Vy, who lives on the island, an ordeal for both. Full of resentment and prickly behavior, the Red Ranger has a moment of realization when an adult comes through for him but not quite in the way he imagined. This book deserves five stars for its no-nonsense narrative, vivid illu ...more
Alica McKenna-Johnson
Dec 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: old-loves, favorites
Five stars is not enough for this glorious book. The illustrations are amazing and make me laugh. The language has a beautiful cadence to it and earns to be read out loud in the most dramatic way possible. And the ending brings the magic of Santa to life. I tear up every time I read it. It is by far my most favorite Christmas story of all time.
Chris Hays
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a great sarcastic twist on a Christmas tale. The artwork is bold and accentuates the character's emotions. I got a kick out of this story as an adult, I am not sure how many kids would enjoy this tale.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite Christmas Story in picture book form I've ever read!! Honestly, so cute. Amazing illustrations & the story! Absolutely delightful!
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, christmas
Very funny clever story. Author took some kind of landmark in a city and wrote a clever story around it. Love Red and his little dog Amelia.
Dec 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely got a kick out of this one!
Kent Winward
Dec 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Bloom County -- I miss it, and this is Bloom County sensibilities applied to the magic of Christmas.
Laurel Kathleen
Oct 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Cute Santa Claus tale plus a TWIST.
Shazza Maddog
Jan 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Being a fan of Berkeley Breathed from back in his Bloom County days, when I saw an article online about an unusual sight - a bicycle trapped in the trunk of a tree - and that the sight of said bicycle inspired Mr. Breathed to write a story, which had become a sort of a cult Christmas classic.

Of course, I had to find it, and despite it being into the New Year when I did, I was charmed by this story of an 'ostrich-egg headed' boy, who, while visiting his aunt during the Christmas holidays (someth
Feb 09, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this imaginative and story about what a little boy wants for Christmas and eventually gets (sort-of). It's a true story about the author's father, named Red, not after his hair but the Red Ranger aka Buck Tweed (a 1930s superhero who battles space Nazis and saves princesses in distress. All Red wants for Christmas is an "Official Buck Tweed Two-Speed Crime-Stopper Star-Hopper bicycle", but it is the Depression and no can afford anything. He passes by a house belonging to Sander ...more
The Brothers
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Another great one by Berke Breathed - but take note! It is not for the short of attention span. It's a rather long and involved story and while Asher (4 years old) would gladly sit through it, Dex (2 years) didn't have it in him. It's the story of a young boy growing up during the depression who (unsurprisingly) does not trust adults and certainly does not believe in Santa Claus. For Christmas all he wants is a Tweed bicycle and he comes across an old man many say is Saint Nick himself. But the ...more
Deliciously told, wonderfully illustrated. (Yes, I'm an old Bloom County fan.)

I'll admit, I felt trepidatious reading the serious tone set by the late 1930's backdrop ... and then I lost myself in tales of tuna fish and Venusian Hottentots. Classic Breathed prose. And the illustrations — oh my!

This is one of my favorite Christmas stories, especially when young Red learns to ... well, you'll see. And yes, his poor dog, Amelia, dose make a valiant effort to steal the show.

If you loved Opus, and kn
Vicki Kier
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: for-the-child
Red Ranger Came Calling is not your daddy's typical Santa Claus tale, but it is based on one told by the author's father, who guaranteed it as true. Breathed's gift for depicting strong expressions of emotion is on full display, but it is not his illustrations which tell this story. Red Ranger is a book to be enjoyed by the whole family; lucky readers will relish the sound of the storyteller's prose and dialogue rolling off their tongues as much as listeners will engage with the masterfully susp ...more
Dec 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This mysterious tale written with restrained but humorous flare reaches dramatic heights in its otherworldly images. Red, the main character, is pictured in wide-ranging emotionally charged poses, his face surprised, slumped by disappointment, pleading, and ablaze in anger; the illustrations command the viewer’s attention to the strong display of light and shadow, some shadows taking on a larger than life existence on the page. The wordy sentences don’t miss a beat, adding to the dark tone of th ...more
Apr 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of christmas stories
A wonderful christmas story about a young boy who discovers, for the first time, that maybe the holiday isn't about what you get, but what you give, and that believing isn't just for those who don't know any better.

Fabulously illustrated, full of great humor and just a little magic, this one is a keeper.

Favorite passages:So if not exactly a Tweed bicycle, then surely a treed one...placed there by a strange old man whose ears had failed him before his heart did.

And then up from some unexplored cr

Ethan Yankura
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Having grown up a huge fan of Bloom County, this book was an eye opening introduction to what a great artist and writer Berke Breathed is. The story of the jaded Red Ranger, who begins this tale as a skeptic of the first order, tells of a boy's fading faith that is redeemed in the end. Despite his claims to the contrary, Red does still want to believe, and despite his claims to be setting out to disprove Santa at the source, he is just trying to hold on to his childhood belief. Breathed comes th ...more
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I love, love, love this book! This is by the Bloom County cartoonist. So that was probably why I picked it up. But now it has become a yearly tradition in our home to read this around Christmastime. The drawings are fun and whimsical and the story of a grumpy boy who, during the depression, wants a special bike -- sort of reminiscent of "A Christmas Story" -- takes you through his adventures in disappointment, charity, love and enchantment. All inspired by a photo that proves, in the end, that t ...more
Oct 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Some children's books simply aren't for children. Sure, they can be read and enjoyed by the younger set, but they are really for the child inside the adult, a nod to long ago and nostalgia, something to warm the hardened heart of an oldster. Like myself, now. And who better to bring the mirth than Breathed, probably one of my all-time favorite cartoonists, of Opus fame. I couldn't go a day without reading his wonderful cartoon, and have enjoyed many of his other endeavors, like this one. So if y ...more
Jul 14, 2008 rated it really liked it
Even though I've read this to my kids, I'm not sure I'd call it a kids book. The humor is fairly sophisticated and sarcastic. I laugh my head off whenever I read it and the illustrations are hilarious.

My kids like to look through it and they enjoy listening to it, but every time they ask I hesitate a bit. The kid is a bit rude and he swears although it's not written (the sky turns purple from his language). And the family relationships are sad.

But for all that I think it's great. Probably for ol
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Put off by the illustrations and particularly the cover, I hesitated to read this for several days after getting it from the library. But that said I really liked the book. It is truly a holiday book with a warm and sweet ending! Actually I found I only disliked the illustrations of the boy and thought the elves were delightful. While I definitely should have recognized the author is the same as Opus comic strip, I did not. If you haven't read this holiday book, please try it!
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Guy Berkeley "Berke" Breathed is an American cartoonist, children's book author/illustrator, director, and screenwriter, best known for Bloom County, a 1980s cartoon-comic strip which dealt with socio-political issues as seen through the eyes of highly exaggerated characters (e.g. Bill the Cat and Opus the Penguin) and humorous analogies.