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FRED STAYS WITH ME! by Nancy Coffelt Kirkus Star


by Nancy Coffelt & illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: June 1st, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-316-88269-9
Publisher: Little, Brown

The word “divorce” is never uttered in this charming story of a young girl who sometimes lives with her mom, and sometimes with her dad, but who never leaves the side of her affable dog Fred. The differences in the girl’s two homes are presented matter-of-factly, as is the common denominator of both household experiences—mom and dad alike are frustrated with Fred by day’s end: “What am I going to do with this dog?” each parent asks, as the dog barks at mom’s neighbor’s poodle or eats dad’s socks. When both parents insist the dog can’t stay, the little girl, standing in a literal and figurative spotlight, states defiantly, “Excuse me . . . Fred doesn’t stay with either of you. Fred stays with ME!” All ends well, as the families devise ways to manage Fred’s canine idiosyncrasies. It all sounds simple enough, but Coffelt offers a fresh, villain-free look at a split family—and at a girl who finds strength, love and reassuring consistency in the dear pooch who is all her own. Tusa’s winning, soft-edged, autumnally hued watercolor illustrations perfectly complement the quiet story, infusing humor and chaos into the more understated text. A gem. (Picture book. 4-8)