Nancy Coffelt, Author
Tricia Tusa, Illustrator
Little, Brown and Company, Fiction, 2007
Suitable for Ages: 4- 8
Themes: Divorce, Girl and her dog, Parenting, Different Families
Opening: “Sometimes I live with my mom. Sometimes I live with my dad. My dog, Fred, stays with me.”
Synopsis: A little girl learns to deal with her parent’s divorce with her very mischievous dog, Fred. She still goes to the same school and has the same friends. But, she alternates living between her parent’s homes. At each home she has a different bedroom, meals and activities. Fred is a troublemaker — he barks constantly at the neighbor’s dog, steals socks and makes messes. Both her parents wonder what they’re going to do with Fred. But, Fred is the girl’s constant companion and stability. They are inseparable. “Fred is my friend. We walk together. We talk together. When I am happy, Fred is too. And when I’m sad, Fred is there.” The girl will have to come up with a solution or lose her best friend.
Why I like this book: Nancy Coffelt has written a very charming and sensitive story for children experiencing a divorce in their family. The text is simple and the language childlike. Yet through showing and narration, the word “divorce” is never used in the text. Divorce is confusing for children and they would resonate with this upbeat book. Fred is lively and a true friend and troublemaker. Tricia Tusa’s illustrations are warm and comforting watercolors done in soft brown hues and they compliment the story. There are also no pictures of parents in her illustrations.
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