Friday, January 14, 2011

Book Review: Freddi the Dog

Freddi the Dog
By: Lisa and Randy Herman; illustrated by Bruce Hammond          
Published by: Fredericka Books     Date: 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9845532-0-4
Price: $14.95
Ages: 2-8
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by: Nancy Messmore

Synopsis: Poor Freddi.  Most people think she’s a boy, but her full name is Fredericka.  Poor Freddi.  She’s a sweet, lovable dog, but she does have a naughty bone.  When that naughty bone gets tickled…trouble follows!  In this story about Freddi the Dog, she eats everything in the house and gets very sick.  Oh, but don’t worry!  When Freddi’s naughty bone gets tickled, readers and listeners will get their funny bones tickled.

Overall thoughts: In my experience in an elementary school library, books about animals (especially dogs) are always in demand.  Books about dogs that get into trouble like kids are even more popular.  Add an interactive element and the book is a sure hit.  This book has all those components.  And, as a picture book, the illustrations have to further tell the story from interesting viewpoints.  Again, this book hits its mark.

I like the storytelling.  The way the Hermans lead up to Freddi getting in trouble works well and listeners will wait for their cues to holler “trouble!” in the right places.  I was a little disappointed that this great device was only used twice early in the book and then abandoned; reintroducing it near the end would have brought kids back into the story, especially after the stress of wondering if Freddi is okay at the hospital.  When everything that Freddi eats is listed, the descriptive words provide a great introduction to adverbs and adjectives, presenting a good point in the story to stop and ask for input from the listeners.

I especially like the look of this book.  The font choices are fun, adding visual interest to each page.  For example, the font gets bigger and bolder as tension mounts in the story.  Background colors on pages without illustrations are bright.  My only criticism is that, on occasion, the images are fuzzy, as though they were computer generated at low-resolution or in a small format and enlarged.  It was especially frustrating that the first two illustrations were fuzzy.  However, Hammond’s changes in perspective (close ups, overhead views, for example) are nicely executed.

Freddi’s story will be a hit with readers and listeners alike.  I look forward to the next time Freddi’s naughty bone gets tickled!


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