cover image Your Pal Fred (Your Pal Fred #1)

Your Pal Fred (Your Pal Fred #1)

Michael C. Rex. Viking, $22.99 (272p) ISBN 978-05932-0633-1

An AI with Ted Lasso spirit guilelessly approaches a dog-eat-dog world in Rex’s (Fangbone!) big-hearted comic. On the run in a postapocalyptic future, tan-skinned brothers Plug and Pug inadvertently activate an outdated toy, AI robot Your Pal Fred, who reads as white and is programmed to “spread kindness, friendship, and good vibes.” Fred, whose views are seen as outmoded by everyone he meets, quickly settles an argument between the siblings. But Plug and Pug are soon separated, abducted by roving caravans that conscript for two ruling warlords’ armies: that of Papa Mayhem and his Ultra-Unstoppable Cyclone of Chaos, and that of Lord Bonkers and his Mighty Arm of Superbad Destruction. With infectious optimism, Fred quests to reunite the brothers and make peace between Bonkers and Mayhem. Along the way, the bot assists many, using the tenets of his programming—and his handy sticker printer—to befriend them. In his signature art style, Rex renders a barren desert with thin line work and warm hues. While the war-torn landscape provides a backdrop of bombastic action, Fred’s gentleness proves healing for those traumatized by war in this humorous volume about the power of kindness. Back matter provides Fred’s six-step guide to making friends. Ages 7–10. Agent: Timothy Travaglini, Transatlantic Agency. (May)