My Friend Fred

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Grace and her dog, Fred are best friends, and they do everything together. But when Grace tries to keep Fred all to herself, she learns that the very best friends are the ones who share. Ages 3-7

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Overview

Grace and her dog, Fred are best friends, and they do everything together. But when Grace tries to keep Fred all to herself, she learns that the very best friends are the ones who share. Ages 3-7

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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.)
Children's Literature - Carrie Hane Hung
Grace's friend is the family's pet dog named Fred. Grace strongly feels that Fred is her dog. Fred always greets her when she wakes up in the morning. They play and run together during the day. Fred even helps Grace by finding lost items like her shoe, Max Bear, and backpack. At bedtime, he checks around for monsters that may be hiding under Grace's bed. Grace's sister, Sarah, reminds Grace that Fred is the family dog but Grace is adamant that Fred belongs only to her. One day, Sarah and her friends play ball, a game that Fred enjoys. In response, Grace carries Fred away from the game and takes him to her room. Fred becomes unhappy and does not want to play with Grace; he whimpers and looks for a way out of Grace's room. Grace comes to a realization of how she is treating her furry friend and how her actions affect him. The illustrations support the text and show the companionship between Grace and Fred. The story may provide a springboard for discussion about friends and sharing. Reviewer: Carrie Hane Hung
School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
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)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781407109343
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/28/2011
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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