Every week I write about the books that we read for my son. He is currently 4 years old and loves a good book! Most of the books come from the Nashville Public Library. Although we buy a good book or two every now and then. I am not a professional book and illustration reviewer or critic, but I can write about the book, what I think about it, and how our son reacted to it.
What the Book is about
“See Fred Run” is not a conventional story. It does not have a plot but rather involves Fred and the reader in a conversation about Fred being in a book. It is kind of meta. The narrator/author makes Fred do playful and silly things, which Fred has no choice about.
Fred goes through these things and complain about them. It is kind of silly and funny. But if you were Fred, you’d understand why he is frustrated and wouldn’t want to do the things that the author lets him do.
But all of these are mere backdrop against the real aims of the book, which is to introduce and teach more than 50 sight words meant to help a young reader learn. These sight words are only 1 or 2 syllables. It is too much for a 4-year old to go through all of these things all at once. My suggestion is to turn it into a game where the kid tries to spot these words and read them aloud.
Title: See Fred Run
Author: Kevin Bolger
Illustrator: Ben Hodson
Published by Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Copyright 2017 by Kevin Bolger & Ben Hodson
No. of pages: 39
About the Author & Illustrator
Kevin Bolger is an elementary reading specialist who has taught primary and beginner readers for more than fifteen years. He is the author of Zombiekins, Sir Fartsalot Hunts the Booger, and the three previous books in this beginner reader series: Gran on a Fan; Lazy Bear, Crazy Bear; and Fun with Ed and Fred. He lives in Ottawa Canada. Ben Hodson is an award-winning illustrator of more than 20 children’s books including Gran on a Fan; Lazy Bear, Crazy Bear; and Fun with Ed and Fred. He lives and works in Peterborough, Canada.
Values, Lessons, & Caution
The book is mainly about teaching a kid how to read some words. But it can also highlight two important lessons: complaining about circumstances and tasks; and the importance of communicating if a child is not comfortable doing something an adult asks them to.
Generally, complaining isn’t good. Fred demonstrates several instances where he complained. That could be a good conversation point between parent and child and what’s acceptable or not. In addition, kids need to know that they do not need to do everything that adults ask them to. And it is okay to verbalize their agreement or disagreement over what an adult says.
The artwork is simple enough. Ed looks a little like a character from Peanuts. I couldn’t quite make out what kind of character or animal Fred is. But the drawings are nice and the color scheme is easy on the eyes. The narrator’s fonts are in serif, and the dialogues are in sans serif, making it easier to distinguish from each other. And there are animal drawings, too; tigers, and gorillas.
Our son didn’t really laugh out loud at scenes in the book. I’ll update this review if he does after re-reading it. Because of the sight words, it seems that this book is really meant to be help a child start learning about reading and Fred and Ed are the conduits to help make that happen.