Fred by Mick Inkpen and Chloe Inkpen

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Fred by Mick Inkpen and Chloe Inkpen

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Category: For Sharing
Rating: 5/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Charmingly drawn, sweetly written, and it leaves you feeling all warm inside. Puptastic!
Buy? yes Borrow? yes
Pages: 32 Date: September 2016
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9781444929522

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It's tricky being a puppy. There are so many things to try to understand, like sit, and stay, and fetch! Whilst the pup in this story has learned all of these tricky commands, and is doing very well at being a good boy, he is having some issues around the word 'Fred'...what on earth does everyone mean when they keep shouting it at him?

This is definitely a story for dog lovers! It is such a sweetly observed tale of a small pup who is figuring out who he is. We learn that he has passed his puppy behavioural class, and he understands about going for a walk and fetching a ball. Yet he really doesn't understand what they mean by Fred, and as he's trying to figure it out he thinks, very sweetly, If only I could Fred! and then everyone would tell him he was a good boy! In amongst his struggles to try and figure out 'Fred' he is discovering other exciting things, such as the other dog upstairs who he saw one day, where he isn't allowed to go, who looks just like him (he's found a mirror!) and then he sees the same dog again in the park (reflected in the pond!). This leads to our puppy getting over excited and leaping into the pond to see if the other puppy wants to play, but then he is floundering in the water and needs to be rescued! This is what leads to his revelation about the word 'Fred' since his owner is saying it over and over, and our sweet little puppy suddenly realises that he is Fred!

Fred is, of course, adorable. He is very sweetly drawn and, for some unknown reason, he wears red and white stripy sweatbands on each leg, which add a lot of character! He has enormous puppy eyes, and side-flopping ears that raise and lower to show his emotions. He seems like a real puppy, in his expressions and his movements, and he's a very endearing character. But the artwork throughout is gorgeous too, with other wonderfully drawn dogs right at the beginning, ranging from a sweet dachshund to a funny dalmatian. There's a wonderful picture of Fred holding a spotty ball in his mouth, that reminds me of the dog I had as a child, trying to fit the entire ball in his mouth to carry it over! I also love Fred by the pond, again carrying his spotty ball. He is thinking about how he likes to chase the pigeons in the park, and if there aren't any pigeons he'll happily run after a duck. The ducks have very concerned faces, and I especially like the one who is dabbling upside down in the water. When Fred falls into the pond there is a brilliant picture of him struggling underwater - we see him as if we are below him, looking up, and so behind Fred we can see his owner, slightly wobbly-looking as we're seeing him through the water, so we know that Fred is safe and will be rescued soon.

The story itself is told in rhyme, with an irregular pattern to the rhymes and rhythms. It makes the whole story more interesting, and it's fun to read aloud as you have to pay attention as the reader. Mostly the language is very simple to understand, since Fred speaks and thinks like a toddler, and I love the different uses of the name Fred. After Fred has realised that his name is Fred we read:

I have been Fredding
All the time!
Fred is a name!
And it is mine!

There's lots to talk about after you've read, including being safe around ponds, how funny dogs are, and all about different people (and dogs!) names.

The relationship between the boy and his puppy is charming, and the story has a wonderfully warm and happy feel to it. Easy to read, and sweet for bedtimes, this one is definitely recommended!

Further reading suggestion: If you like this you might also enjoy reading Wanted: The Perfect Pet by Fiona Roberton and Fetch by Jane Cabrera.

Booklists.jpg Fred by Mick Inkpen and Chloe Inkpen is in the Top Ten Children's Picture Books 2016.
Buy Fred by Mick Inkpen and Chloe Inkpen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fred by Mick Inkpen and Chloe Inkpen at

Buy Fred by Mick Inkpen and Chloe Inkpen at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Fred by Mick Inkpen and Chloe Inkpen at


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