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.