Your Pal Fred by Michael Rex

Published by Viking Books for Young Readers

Summary:  “Welcome to the future!”  “The future stinks” read two signs on the opening page.  The evidence is there in chapter one when brothers Pug and Plug are traveling through a post-apocalyptic world, each one only looking out for himself.  When they accidentally awaken an AI boy named Fred, they get a few lessons in friendship and sharing.  When Fred learns about the world war going on, he decides to take his lessons to the two warlords to try to negotiate a peaceful settlement.  Fred befriends everyone he meets in his travels, a gift that later is returned when he’s rescued from the warlords’ attempts to destroy him.  A surprising revelation unexpectedly brings peace, and Fred decides to wander the world, helping anyone who may need him.  Includes Fred’s six-step guide to making friends.  272 pages; grades 3-6.

Pros:  A graphic novel with equal parts fun and heart, as Fred’s unstoppable kindness saves the day in a grim future populated by all sorts of unusual creatures.  As I have mentioned, Mike Rex grew up down the street from me, and I appreciated his dedication, “To my father, who was, above all, kind.”

Cons:  Kindness does not always feel like its own reward here.

One thought on “Your Pal Fred by Michael Rex

  1. Hi! Thanks for the nice review. Your comment in the “cons” section has me really thinking.

    While I can’t change my book, or book 2, I’m writing book 3 now. Perhaps being kind, but expecting something in return, would be a great idea to have in there.

    But do we always want/need something in return? If I do something kind for a neighbor, am I secretly hoping for something in return? Even if it’s feeling good for a bit? Hmmm… could really be a great thing to explore.


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