cover image Freddie's Trip

Freddie's Trip

Danielle Steel. Yearling Books, $2.99 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-440-40573-3

In both format and overall appearance, Steel's new series--starring a freckle-faced five-year-old named Freddie--displays an improvement over her Max and Martha titles. However, these two initial volumes-- Freddie's Trip in particular--seem overly wordy for picture books, and the content sometimes doesn't match up with the intended age range. A few sugar-coated asides prove somewhat didactic (``Freddie thinks John is a really nice big brother, and he loves being with him'') and occasionally the author's voice intrudes into the narrative (``you see a lot when you travel by car, and you can stop and visit things along the way''). Still, the books deal realistically with two milestone experiences of early childhood--spending the night at a friend's house for the first time and going on a family vacation. Rogers's merrily slapdash illustrations (somewhat reminiscent of the work of Tracey Campbell Pearson) add a welcome sense of fun and child appeal. Young readers may well enjoy spending time with the sprightly Freddie and his family. Ages 6-8. (May)