Thursday, October 12, 2017

Under-the-Bed Fred - a review

By Linda Bailey
Illustrated by Colin Jack
Penguin Random House, 2017

Under-the-Bed-Fred is the first in a new chapter book series. Like many young kids, Leo is convinced there is a monster under his bed. He is right. Tired of leaping to/from the bathroom, Leo decides to confront the monster. Leo soon realizes that Fred is just doing his job—scaring kids is what he does. 

In Chapter 2, "The Monster Gets a Name," the author hits her stride and gives the reader a taste of Fred and Leo's personalities,

"What's your name?" asked Leo.
"I don't have one," said the monster.
"Everyone should have a name," said Leo.
"I know," said the monster. "I like Fred."
Leo blinked. "You want to be called Fred?"
"Could I?"
"I don't see why not," said Leo.
"Then say it," said the monster. "Say Fred. Say it nicely."
"Okay," said Leo. "Hi Fred. How are you doing, Fred? How's life, Fred?"
"Oh," said Fred. "That feels good!"
 And Fred, tickled pink with his new name, goes on to keep Leo up all night,

"Fred. Fred. Fred."
"Oh for Pete's sake," said Leo. He rolled over. He put his pillow over his head.
"Fred, Fred, Fred, Fred, Fred ..." said Fred.

The story continues with a requisite bully, Fred's visit to school, and a satisfactory conclusion. The vocabulary is simple enough for independent reading, but presented with humor and personality. The images are mixed media, but appear to be primarily watercolor. They are funny in a style that is reminiscent of a Nickelodeon cartoon. All of this is packaged in an attractive small-sized book with sturdy, glossy pages that will stand up in public and school libraries.

Although monsters under the bed are a trope in children's literature, Fred has charming tendencies that set him apart from the rest and he's worthy of investigation. It will be interesting to see the follow-up books. Kids should like this one!

Take a "look inside" Under the Bed Fred at the publisher's website.

My copy of Under the Bed Fred was provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers

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