Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Fred Stays With Me!

Coffelt, Nancy (Author)
Tusa, Tricia (Illustrator)
Little, Brown 2011. 32 pages
First published: 2007
ISBN: 9780316077910 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, recurring patterns, setting

Award

Boston Globe-Horn Honor Book – 2008

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This positive story highlights the elements that remain stable after parents go through a divorce. The girl lives at her mom’s some of the time and at her dad’s some of the time, but her dog Fred comes with her wherever she is. When Fred causes trouble, and her parents say that Fred can’t stay with them anymore, the girl is firm about her needs: “Fred doesn’t stay with either of you. Fred stays with ME!”

The text is sparse but effective: “Sometimes my mom drives us to the park. On other days my dad takes us to the lake. Fred likes to ride in the car.” While the narrative mostly focuses on Fred, the story shows the importance of having something constant in one’s life growing up, especially when living between two homes.

The illustrations are as straightforward as the text. Done in watercolour, the simple paintings feature pale browns, yellows and reds throughout. One page shows Fred running with a sock in his mouth. Another illustration takes up two pages and portrays Fred and the girl sitting on a rock in a stream, surrounded by smooth tree trunks.

Emphasizing the fine art of compromise, the girl works with each parent to come up with a suitable solution when Fred starts to cause trouble. The final page reads: “Sometimes I live with my mom. Sometimes I live with my dad. But Fred stays with me.”

  •  

    Why do parents divorce? Discuss how things change in families and how you can make the best of a difficult situation.

  •  

    Discuss why it is so important to the little girl to always talk about Fred. What does this tell you about the importance of consistency in our lives?

  •  

    Sometimes, with friends or family, we have to work out complex problems. With a partner, discuss when this happened to you and what you did to work it out. What did you learn by working through the problem?

  •  

    Living in two homes means making tough decisions: What things (clothes, books, toys, etc.) would you keep in which home, or in both? Make an annotated drawing of your two real or imagined bedrooms.

  •  

    Discuss how the separation/divorce of your parents might change or has changed your life. What are the advantages? The drawbacks?

  •  

    What is Fred's role in this story? Discuss how the girl has things that are similar and different in the two settings. Use a Venn diagram to show your understanding.

  •  

    If you live (or had to live) in two homes, what would you want to keep in both homes? Are there items that you wouldn’t mind having in only one of them?

  •  In you reader-writer’s notebook, use the author’s style to write about yourself or about a person you know.
  • To construct his/her identity
  • To cooperate with others
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Ethics and Religious Culture