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Reviewed by Marie-Hélène Fasquel for Readers' Favorite
Read-Aloud Stories with Fred, Vols. 1 and 2 Collection by Fred Olds and Margo L. Dill (first story), is a collection of seven children's tales that can be read to young children or can be read by kids on their own. I did not know this collection and was delighted to give it a try. The foreword by Margo L. Dill, also a children's and young adult writer, tells us how she met the author in a lovely way in a critique group and how they have been an inspiration for each other.
This is a great collection of stories, with fine illustrations and adorable stories that will allow kids to grow as human beings. I am thinking of the story "Looking Inside," tackling the infamous and unfortunately current issue of racism through the eyes of youth. Indeed, as in real life, young children do not like other kids because of the color of their skin. They do not even notice it and they are our greatest hope for a better future for this very reason. They do not have any prejudices. To top it all, reading and learning about Martin Luther King are essential for children, learning about the people who changed the world.
I also loved all six of Fred's stories! I particularly enjoyed "Ben and the terrible red card". The question the author asks his readers at the very beginning of the story is perfect to set the mood, to engage them and show them that a story should relate to them and show them that they are not alone in feeling bad sometimes or, as in this story, misunderstood. This story is set at school and is funny, often exhilarating and lively, thanks to the fourth-grade protagonist, Benjamin, who is perfect in the role of the "not so bad" student who keeps being punished and even is humiliated in class. Then of course he is teased and feels awkward. All the stories prove how talented Fred Olds is and make us hope there will be more stories to come. These tales are bound to entertain young children and I whole-heartedly recommend them!