Fred's Dream Cat.
Marie-danielle Croteau. Illustrated by Bruno St-Aubin.
Translated by Sarah Cummins.
Halifax: Formac Publishing Limited, 1995.
61pp, paper, $5.95.
Grades 3 - 4 / Ages 8 - 9.
Review by Leslie Millar.
I myself don't care for hockey. And my parents don't like to go out.
When the weekend comes, they only want to do one thing; rest. Read and
listen to music. Watch their kids grow.
Great. Every Sunday, I sat there and I grew, just to please my
parents. While I grew, my wish for a cat grew and grew.
Soon I wouldn't be wishing for a kitten anymore. I'd be wanting a
Marie-danielle Croteau works in the communications field. She wrote two
novels for adults before turning her hand to children's books.
Fred's Dream Cat is her third book for children. In it, she
tells the story of Fred, an irrepressible optimist who longs for a pet
Fred is always convinced that his parents are about to give him a
cat when obstacles suddenly arise. For example, a cat could endanger the
health standards required for the family fish shop, which is attached to
the house. Or Fred's mother is expecting a baby, and it's not a good idea
to have a cat around an infant.
Fred goes to great lengths to persuade his parents that a cat is
reasonable and feasible. He finally hits upon the ultimate plan; infest
the fish shop with mice to force his parents to realize they need a cat.
This plan, like the previous ones, is unsuccessful, and Fred is near to
giving up hope when his parents come through and . . . guess what?
Fred's Dream Cat has large print and short chanters.
It is suitable for both independent reading and class read-alouds.
Vocabulary like rummage, nervous, and studious may prove
difficult for some readers. And some expressions such as in the bag, all
fired up, and I clued in may need explaining. The black-and-white
illustrations by Brunt St-Aubin are very funny.
This short novel is a highly enjoyable read. Told from the point of
view of an articulate eight-year-old, it is rife with humour. Fred is an
engaging and likeable child who will be sure to make you smile.
Fred 's Dream Cat is a light tale of a boy whose dreams
come true, but there are also undertones of misfortune. Fred's parents
worry visibly about accidents that might befall their children. His
friend William's mother and brother died in a train accident. These
details do not overshadow, but balance the comic tone of the story,
giving more texture and depth.
Leslie Millar is a substitute teacher and volunteer in Winnipeg
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Copyright © 1996 the Manitoba Library Association.
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