Fred Stays with Me!

Fred Stays with Me!9780316077910_p0_v1_s260x420Fred Stays with Me!

Nancy Coffelt, Author

Tricia Tusa, Illustrator

Little, Brown and Company, Fiction, 2007

Suitable for Ages: 4- 8

Themes:  Divorce, Girl and her dog, Parenting, Different Families

Opening “Sometimes I live with my mom.  Sometimes I live with my dad.  My dog, Fred, stays with me.”

Synopsis:  A little girl learns to deal with her parent’s divorce with her very mischievous dog, Fred.  She still goes to the same school and has the same friends.  But, she alternates living between her parent’s homes.  At each home she has a different bedroom, meals and activities.  Fred is a troublemaker — he barks constantly at the neighbor’s dog, steals socks and makes messes.  Both her parents wonder what they’re going to do with Fred.  But, Fred is the girl’s constant companion and stability.  They are inseparable.  “Fred is my friend. We walk together. We talk together. When I am happy, Fred is too. And when I’m sad, Fred is there.”  The girl will have to come up with a solution or lose her best friend.

Why I like this book:  Nancy Coffelt has written a very charming and sensitive story for children experiencing a divorce in their family.   The text is simple and the language childlike. Yet through showing and narration, the word “divorce” is never used in the text.  Divorce is confusing for children and they would resonate with this upbeat book. Fred is lively and a true friend and troublemaker. Tricia Tusa’s illustrations are warm and comforting watercolors  done in soft brown hues and they compliment the story. There are also no pictures of parents in her illustrations.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

60 thoughts on “Fred Stays with Me!

  1. Pat, This sounds like a wonderful book. Having a pet during divorce can be a real stabilizing anchor for kids (even if the dog is the biggest mischief maker in town!). Great review!


  2. Yay … I love this one! One of the craziest things that I hear in my office from kids is “we’re getting a divorce” because it affect everyone. That’s for keeping your heart on the pulse of books that help kids heal!


      • I must have been tired … I meant it affects everyone and THANKS … yes, I have to work really hard sometimes to convince kiddos that it isn’t their divorce even though it feels like it. Recently I was told by a firstie that she wasn’t EVER getting married because she didn’t want another divorce. So sad.


  3. This sounds like a keeper. As I’ve previously mentioned, my focus is on adoption. When divorce occurs within an adoptive family, there’s an extra layer of pain and loss. Thanks for this suggestion!


  4. I had forgotten this book. It’s focus on family reminds me of DAD AND POP that also didn’t mention the divorce that clearly happened. (and I love the solution for Fred!) Great choice.


  5. I love it when authors deal with difficult circumstances in a picture book, and this one sounds like it hit right on target. I’ll have to get this one for my grandson, the child of my step daughter. He does not remember his father but knows his present one is not his biological one. AND Grandson is getting a dog. 🙂


      • Yes, You are so right. We were crying as much for the loss of Ben’s father who had died just months earlier as for the cat. I think it was easier for Ben to cry over the cat as for his father. Now at the time of Lucky’s death, Ben, who was ten, knew that he would never see his father again and also he would never see Lucky again.

        At the time his father died, I am not sure he really knew what it meant.

        Sorry for going on and on here about it. 🙂


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  7. This book is perfect for children dealing with divorce, or the threat of loosing their pet. My son’s biggest concern when I went through a divorce was if he could keep his dog.This book touched my heart.


    • Glad you liked the book. I hope the dog brought him comfort.

      By the way, I finally ordered your first book. There are a lot of books I need to read, so it is nice that I’ll look forward to reading a book for fun.


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