Monday, September 9, 2019

Review - The Misadventures of Frederick

The Misadventures of Frederick
by Ben Manley
illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark
Date: 2019
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

A poetic and playful tale about the joys of going outside and having adventures, beautifully illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark, creator of Plumdog and Bears Don't Read.

In a mansion surrounded by lakes and forests, Frederick is very bored. He leads the most sheltered life imaginable: and when Emily invites him to play outside he has no choice but to refuse - what if he hurts himself? Much better to stay safely indoors. But Emily is not one to take no for an answer.

A series of brilliantly funny and evocative letters between Frederick and Emily form the frame of this unique story which weaves together the colourful, adventurous world of Emily with Frederick's drab life of boredom and safety.

The Misadventures of Frederick is a gloriously illustrated picture book celebration of being scared and doing it anyway.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

This book is a little too relatable. I was Frederick when I was a kid, always coming up with excuses as to why I couldn't do things. Although, Frederick makes his excuses with much more wonderfully purple prose than I ever would have used.

The premise is simple: Frederick is in his room when he receives a paper airplane with a message on it. It's from his friend Emily, and she wants him to go for ice cream with her. Frederick asks his mother, but after she reminds him what happened the last time (which is pretty funny), he writes back to Emily, sending his regrets that he won't be able to join her. Emily is persistent, however, and keeps inviting Frederick to join her in all sorts of activities, from bike riding to swimming. Each time, Frederick comes up with an outlandish excuse... until finally Emily has had enough. Will Frederick be able to overcome his fears and have a little fun?

There's little text, other than the letters and a bit of speech. The illustrations complement the narrative perfectly, illustrating Frederick's colourful excuses with little details that are fun to try to pick out.

The ending is pitch perfect and rather funny. I really like the message of this one, and I enjoyed reading it. It's a great story about overcoming fears.

Thank you to NetGalley and Pan Macmillan for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 5/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 5/5

Enjoyment: 5/5

Overall: 4.67 out of 5

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