Book Review: Under-the-Bed Fred by Linda Bailey

Under-the-Bed Fred is a transitional chapterbook written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Colin Jack. This is perfect for those readers moving beyond picturebooks and branching into more challenging reads. It is broken into a few smaller stories, so it is not overwhelming to readers that might still be intimidated by chapter books.

There's a monster under Leo's bed making a ruckus every night. When Leo needs to go to the bathroom, he leaps from the bed to the door -- careful not to put his feet on the floor within the monster's reach. But one night Leo gets tired of being scared and boldly calls out to the monster to see if they can't just work something out. Surprisingly, the monster listens, and Leo finds out that even enormous monsters have fears! Leo and his monster, Fred, team up to face their fears, each with his own unique strengths. Over the course of five easy-to-read chapters, their friendship blooms as they face everything from bullies to bedbugs.

Under-the-Bed Fred is a fun book for independent readers, and for sharing. I like that Leo faces his fears, and learns something about prejudice and friendship. I found Fred to be a cute and imaginative creature, making the story fun. Leo has real kid problems, and some fears shared by most children at some point. I liked his persistence and patience with Fred- and thought that the exasperation he feels towards Fred at times mirrors what adults and older sibling might feel when the target audience gives into the fears Leo faces. I think this book could help young readers  face monster fears, and dealing with the stresses of bullies and school. The illustrations add a nice touch to the story, adding emotion and additional fun to the read.
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