Baking day play.
The eponymous Fred is the canine narrator of this story, and he lives with a cheerful, white-haired woman. Throughout the book, she bakes with a little child, whom illustrations cue readers to regard as her grandson. As they measure, pour, and mix ingredients for what will be bread pudding, they seem oblivious to Fred’s parallel activity making what he calls “Fred pudding.” A picture shows them tearing bread into pieces and putting them into a bowl; on the facing recto, Fred says to “shred some stuff into chunks” and is depicted tearing pages from a book, unravelling a ball of yarn, and pulling on a leg of hosiery. Later, the instruction “Bake” shows the woman and boy putting a pan into an oven on the verso while Fred basks in a shaft of sunlight on the recto. While the humans end up with a finished, edible product, Fred’s activities don’t contribute to a single thing at book’s end. The humans never acknowledge the considerable mischief he’s caused, either, and he gets to enjoy a serving of the bread pudding in his dog bowl. Ultimately, this title serves up lots of silliness without a full story arc. The woman presents white, and the child has brown skin and brown, curly hair.
Unsatisfying. (Picture book. 3-5)