cover image Ed & Fred Flea

Ed & Fred Flea

Pamela Duncan Edwards, Edwards. Hyperion Books for Children, $14.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-0468-9

Bad Fred Flea, who shares residence on a dog with his angelic brother, Ed, hopes to get the whole hound to himself. When Ed, who reads the dog's whining as a warning to move on, invites Fred to bail out with him, Fred feigns illness to stay behind and stake more territory. His response to Ed's accusation of faking--""`No, it's true!' Bad Fred lied. `And there never can be,/ a pill to cure a poor flu-y flea'""--initiates a long digression about other animal diseases that can be cured. Ed's triumph is short-lived, however, for in the end, out comes the flea powder. The Edwards and Cole team is missing the wordplay and whimsy of their The Worrywarts (reviewed above) here. Cole may entertain readers with gleeful caricatures of the fleas in their respective arm chairs--Ed smiling with a cup of tea at his elbow, Fred glowering with arms crossed and a spring popping out of his chair--but this glib tale of comeuppance is unlikely to make readers itch for rereadings. Ages 4-8. (Sept.)