Little Freddy in the Forest
by T. Steele Petry

". . . not an animal to touch but lucky to see."

This book is a complete display of Petry's talents as an artist and as a children's book author. His main character, Little Freddy, is the definition of complete enthusiasm, love of nature, and curiosity personified. Though there isn't one picture of Freddy himself, readers will want to pinch his cheeks and squeeze him for all the pure child he represents. The book starts with Little Freddy waking daily with enthusiasm to explore. He heads into the forest, not to hunt or fish or catch anything, but to observe and appreciate. "The fawn was beautiful with very large eyes, / Especially considering her relatively small size."

The forest-animal illustrations are as good as those in Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are as well as those by Eric Carle in his The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The paintings are equal in vibrancy and color but are more detailed and emotional. The animal eyes are drawn to such perfection that seeing these pictures makes readers feel an instant connection with wildlife. If an engaging storyline and nice, colorful illustrations make for a good children's book, rhyme and meter added in make for perfection in the industry. Petry's book has it all, and this should result in a loyal following of young readers. The reading level is approximately second grade, but advanced first graders, with practice, should be able to read this book independently, as well. Once Little Freddy has stolen their hearts, readers will be delighted to learn that this is just one book in a series. It perfectly displays the author's poetry and painting talents, warms hearts, and inspires children to explore.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

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