Monday, 24 September 2012

Where Is Fred? by Edward Hardy & Ali Pye

This is pretty cool. I’ve read better picture books, but I’ve also read much worse ones. It's quite fun and it made me laugh. It’s a tad silly, but in an innocent and innocuous way.

Fred is a very white, very fluffy caterpillar. He’s very good at playing hide and seek, particularly if he hides on white fluffy things, like sheep and cotton wool. Unfortunately, when Fred is having a snack on a nice, green, shiney leaf he’s not so well disguised, and one day, whilst doing just this very thing, he is spotted by Gerald the crow, giving Fred quite a fright. In an attempt to evade Gerald and becoming Gerald’s lunch, Fred must draw on all his powers of hide and seek. He manages to hide quite successfully in lots of places that aren’t necessarily as white and fluffy as he is, causing Gerald to become really quite frustrated...

Where is Fred? is a very humourous little story, that elicited several sniggers from me during reading. The author, Edward Hardy, has come up with some fairly ingenious places for Fred to hide, and Ali Pye brings these to life with some lovely illustrations. I think my favourite hiding place was a little girl’s “lovely fluffy white headband,” though I imagine lots of children are likely to be most amused when Fred disguises himself as an elderly gentleman’s moustache. The book’s layout is well constructed too: Gerald speaks in a wiggly, squawky font, and whenever he spots a “lovely fluffy white” something, those three words are printed in a different font again, highlighting their reference to Fred. There is repetition, but each with ever so slight a change, simultaneously preventing each page from becoming annoyingly repetitive and introducing new words.

And Fred? Well, he does ultimately avoid capture, outwitting Gerald in the most preposterously ingenious manner. A lighthearted and enjoyable story.

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