Reading/Interest Level: Preschool
Author: Rob Biddulph
Fred has a lot of impressive talents, but the best talent of all is that his grrrrr is the loudest of all. This means that he spends a lot of time on his own getting ready to compete, but he doesn't need friends when he's surrounded by all of his trophies and awards. When a new bear comes to try to win Fred's usual trophy and Fred wakes up one morning with no grrrrr, Fred is worried that this could be the end of his reputation as the bear with the best grrrrr. Soon new friends help Fred to find his roar and to find out what happened to Fred's most prized attribute. Fred and others learn that having good friendships is more important than winning prizes.
The book is written in a nice rhyme that makes it easy to read aloud. The illustrations are bright and colorful, and even though Fred isn't always the most admirable character, he is always lovable. The ending is sweet, with both Fred and the villain of the story discovering that they want and need the same things to be happy. It isn't clear why all of the animals decide to suddenly be friends with Fred when he hadn't made any time to be nice previously, but they come together to support him and it makes a nice ending that readers of all ages will enjoy. While most children aren't in the kind of position where they choose between friends and awards, the power of friendship is still clearly and sweetly portrayed in this charming picture book.