The Red Tide is the second book in Michael Clay Thompson’s Mud Trilogy of Classic Words Novels, which he wrote himself for children in Level 1 of the MCT language arts curriculum.
Mud the Fish and his friends are back in Volume II to battle the forces of nature around them on Sentence Island. They are enjoying a peaceful life and reflecting on the meaning of words, on the two sides of sentences, and on the importance of thinking clearly. They experiment with various true and untrue sentences, grammar notwithstanding. “A fish is an animal. All fish are animals. Therefore, all animals are fish“ is clearly not true.
A series of near-calamities throws everything into disarray—a tsunami, a red tide, and then a waterspout. The red tide coincides with a distinguished visitor, Queequack, the famous paragraph expert (children will meet him in Paragraph Town, the writing book in Level 2 of the MCT curriculum), and Mud has to convince everyone that the two events are not connected. After the waterspout they learn that everything has to be in its rightful place.
Soon a tall, green stranger arrives on their shore to tell them that their disasters are a result of poor leadership. If they obey him, the mantis tells them, and echo his words, he will solve all their problems. He is a devious character and demands absolute loyalty with no questions asked. Daisy the pelican, Clack, and Mud do not fall for his false words and manage to persuade the others by using the logic they have all learned. As the great waterbird Benjamin Frankloon once said, “We must all stick together, or we will all get stuck separately.”