cover image Captain Freddy Counts Down to School

Captain Freddy Counts Down to School

Elizabeth Shreeve, illus. by Joey Chou. Amazon/Two Lions, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5039-5095-5

Uneasy about starting school, a boy named Freddy constructs an interstellar fantasy to boost his confidence. His new school shoes become “moon boots,” and his backpack is actually a jet pack, which comes in handy after Freddy needs to make a quick escape from his rocket. Working in digital media, Chou (the B. Bear and Lolly series) uses saturated colors and geometric shapes to create a retro atmosphere that evokes atomic-age fascinations with extraterrestrial exploration. Shreeve (Oliver at the Window) believably builds Freddy’s self-assurance as the story progresses, though it ends on an oddly inconclusive note. As Freddy, his mother, and his younger sister use jet packs to “blast off to school” in the final scene, it’s unclear whether Freddy’s fantasy is continuing or they actually are space dwellers. A page of “space facts” is included. Ages 3–7. [em]Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (July) [/em]