Pierrot was a dreamer child,
Whose only friends were imaginary.
Until the day Mr. Fred entered his life,
With his invisible book…
Pierrot is now an adult, but he never forgot Mr. Fred, his first real friend. Every day, Mr. Fred would sit in the park and read an invisible book of stories. Every day, Pierrot would join Mr. Fred and listen to the wonderful stories he told.
One day, Mr. Fred did not come. However, before he died, he took care to pack his storybook— the real one!—for Pierrot.
Maybe one day he can memorize all the stories, too...
"French-Canadian children's books are often philosophical in nature, and this is especially true of picture books written for older children. The Fabulous World of Mr. Fred is a shining example. . . Lili Chartrand (Taming Horrible Harry) is known for her touching books. In Mr. Fred, she creates an imaginative, multi-layered fable about overcoming obstacles and taking chances. Parents and children will come away from it with different impressions: adults will identify with Mr. Fred, while children will be enchanted by the story's magic. The narrative does lose some of its charm in translation; though the English version is lovely, the French feels more cohesive.
"Gabrielle Grimard's watercolour, gouache, and oil-paint illustrations more than make up for any awkwardness in translation. The art flows gracefully across the page. Warm and touching, it perfectly complements the story's spirit.
"The French-language edition of this book (Le monde fabuleux de Monsieur Fred) was a finalist for the Québec/Wallonie-Bruxelles prize, a 2013 Governor General's Literary Award, and a Prix des libraires du Québec selection. Though the English version lacks some if the original's finesse, readers should still feel fortunate to live in a country where high-quality literature for children is being produced in both official languages. The Fabulous World of Mr. Fred begs to be shared among parents, grandparents, and children.
— Quill & Quire
"The illustrations by Grimard are large, lively and imaginative. They bring the story off the page, with bold double page spreads and full bleed colour illustrations. Grimard creates Mr. Fred's world with long watercolour and gouache brush strokes, but also rounder shapes, often enveloping Mr. Fred and Pierrot in the world of dragons or colourful birds. The illustrations make it feel like there's so much more to the story than what we are seeing, and this allows readers to dream up other parts of Mr. Fred's magical world. One illustration that was particularly breathtaking was the image from Mr. Fred's memory of the house fire that takes his wife and son away from him, an illustration in which Grimard uses deep blues contrasted with blends of yellow and white extremely effectively."
— CM Magazine