Reviews for My Friend Fred


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Fred may be the family dog, as Grace's sister Sarah reminds her, but to Grace he has always been her very own special friend. After an ill-conceived attempt at preventing him from playing with Sarah and her friends, Grace learns that Fred (shown in expressive, good-natured illustrations) has enough love to go around. A useful message delivered with a light touch.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 February #2
A young girl shares a special bond with Fred, her family's pooch. When Grace's older sister Sarah has friends over, they want to play with the dog. But Grace insists the dog belongs to her. After all, Fred's sniffing locates Grace's backpack when it's buried in a mess; he lounges in her bean-bag chair and wakes her with a nudge of a ball. She attempts doggy extortion to distract him with make-believe and stories ("Let's look at these for hours and hours until all Sarah's friends go home"), but Fred whimpers at the door. Grace has an epiphany that leads to a dramatic change of heart. Although this shift is praiseworthy and one that many parents will encourage, it is out of sync with Grace's developmentally realistic attitude that preceded it. Her final, private thoughts belie her transformation, though: "I know ‘ours' is only a word and whatever anyone says, really that dog will always mostly be… / my friend Fred." Fred and Grace's relationship is endearingly described in Reeve's pastel-hued illustrations. Appropriately, they are by far the most developed characters, aptly reflecting Grace's self-centeredness. It's a doggone shame that didacticism mars the depiction of a young owner's relationship with her beloved pup. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 April #5

In a gentle story about learning to share, a girl named Grace adores her family's fluffy white labradoodle, Fred, and they do just about everything together--whether it's swimming, running, or sprawling out on a squashy, pink beanbag. In fact, she doesn't like to share Fred with anyone: "I know he is mine because he is always there when I open my eyes in the morning. He is always there when I shut my eyes at night." When Grace's sister, Sarah, tempts Fred to play ball, Grace haughtily picks up the dog and takes him back to her room. But Fred's paws are itching for outdoor play, and Grace comes to realize that sometimes sharing Fred is okay ("‘Thanks, Grace,' barked Fred, already leaping for the ball. ‘Thanks, Grace,' said Sarah's friends. ‘Thanks, Grace,' said Sarah. ‘This is very big of you"). Despite Grace's hasty reversal, Reeve's assured illustrations are lovingly lit with vibrant colors, and Oram underscores the importance of generosity while acknowledging the power of special bonds. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

In a gentle story about learning to share, a girl named Grace adores her family's fluffy white labradoodle, Fred, and they do just about everything together--whether it's swimming, running, or sprawling out on a squashy, pink beanbag. In fact, she doesn't like to share Fred with anyone: "I know he is mine because he is always there when I open my eyes in the morning. He is always there when I shut my eyes at night." When Grace's sister, Sarah, tempts Fred to play ball, Grace haughtily picks up the dog and takes him back to her room. But Fred's paws are itching for outdoor play, and Grace comes to realize that sometimes sharing Fred is okay ("‘Thanks, Grace,' barked Fred, already leaping for the ball. ‘Thanks, Grace,' said Sarah's friends. ‘Thanks, Grace,' said Sarah. ‘This is very big of you"). Despite Grace's hasty reversal, Reeve's assured illustrations are lovingly lit with vibrant colors, and Oram underscores the importance of generosity while acknowledging the power of special bonds. Ages 3-7. (Mar.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 May

Gr 1-2--Can a pet dog belong to one person in a family? Grace believes so, but Sarah disagrees. "No, Grace, he is not yours. He is ours. Our family dog." Grace thinks that Fred is her best friend, though, because he finds her lost belongings, and he keeps her safe from monsters. He seems to be happiest with her, but that changes when she prevents him from playing ball with Sarah and her friends. After hearing him whine and whimper behind her closed bedroom door, Grace realizes, "friends don't keep their friends all to themselves all of the time." Although she and the pup go outside to join a game of ball with a group of children, Grace lets readers know that her feelings haven't changed all that much and "that dog will always mostly be my friend Fred." The child's narration, which contains repetition, can be read with emotion. Layout is varied, with the colorful illustrations appearing on full pages, spreads, or with several smaller pictures per page. Reeve adds humorous breaks to this poignant story by showing the endearing white pooch standing on his head, tucked into a sandwich, and sitting in a plant. A good choice as a read-alone, a read-aloud, and for family discussion.--Tanya Boudreau, Cold Lake Public Library, AB, Canada

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