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by Tess Weaver & illustrated by Debbie Tilley

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: May 19th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-618-45239-2
Publisher: Clarion

Not that it doesn’t have its charms, but Weaver’s story about finding a calling is pretty silly. Then again, its goofiness is its saving grace. Young Frederick loves his local state fair and nothing would make him happier than to take home a prize ribbon from one of its contests. The trouble is his mouth: It’s motorized, blabbering and backfiring and sinking his ambitions. Notwithstanding his yapper, he has pluck and energy, but he still hasn’t discovered a talent as the state fair nears. His mother recommends entering the Boys’ Fashion Fair, and here the story gets seriously zany. Frederick duly knocks out a crazy-wild shirt, rendered particularly so by Tilley’s clamorous watercolors. He is mightily discouraged when he sees the polished entries of the competition, until a slice of pure manna—a stroke of utterly wacky convenience—falls from heaven into his purview, and he makes it his own. Ribbons follow. Forget about following your dreams and cultivating innate abilities. Read this book with Frederick’s brio and it will pay for itself. (Picture book. 4-8)