It’s the Depression, but Red’s family is managing better thanmost on their Prince Edward Island farm. Hard working andresourceful, they have enough to eat and to help others, evenif at times they are mocked by their neighbours for puttingeducation ahead of farm work. Eleven-year-old Red has plentyof chores around the farm, and the days can be long, but hestill gets the odd break to go swimming or fishing, provided hishomework is done. Red’s older sister, Ellen, teaches at the localschool, and if Red doesn’t shine, she will not only punish him,but also make sure their parents hear about it.
But then Red’s father’s hand is seriously injured and thefamily’s situation looks dire. Red steps up to the challenge,finishing the tobacco boxes that his father makes and helpingshovel out a train stuck in the snow. Stubborn and even pigheaded,Red does make mistakes along the way (such as pretendingto be dead so that his younger sister will stop followinghim), but his heart is always in the right place.