Friday, January 5, 2018

Under-the-bed Fred by Linda Bailey, illustrated by Colin Jack

Leo, a skinny white boy with messy brown hair, has a problem. There is a monster under his bed. He just knows it! Launching himself across the room, he huddles in bed all night...until one night the need for the bathroom is just too much and he TALKS to the monster. Turns out, the monster's actually pretty nice, even though it's his job to scare Leo. Once they've started talking, Leo helps the monster pick a name (Fred) and even takes him to school to introduce him to the other kids. Fred shows off his scary skills, even using them to take revenge on a mean neighbor kid who comes over for a playdate and breaks Leo's toys. Leo and Fred end the story as friends, even if Fred doesn't always quite understand things!

The layout and art of this story reminded me of Princess in Black. Jack's pictures are colorful and have a slick, digital shine to them. Fred is a looming, rather messy brown monster who looks a bit like Sully from Monsters Inc. The book is a slightly oversized hardcover with simple, bold text and vocabulary suited to younger grades.

Verdict: This fills a need for beginning chapters with a younger feel for very young, fluent readers - kindergarten through 1st grade - who still like the humorous, innocent stories. It would also make a fun read-aloud. A fun additional choice, if not a necessary one.

ISBN: 9781770495531; Published 2017 by Tundra; Review copy provided by publisher for Cybils; Donated to the library

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