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Fred and Ted's Road Trip: 09/02/16

Fred and Ted's Road Trip by Peter Eastman

Fred and Ted's Road Trip by Peter Eastman is the latest in the Fred and Ted series of early readers. The first one, Big Dog, Little Dog was by P.D. Eastman and came out the year I was born. This latest one was written by his son and came out in 2011.

Fred is a big dog who loves green. Ted is a small dog who loves red. Their color coordination goes to their food, their clothing, and even their cars. The cars are part of the original story and I suspect the two even made a cameo in Eastman's 1961 Go, Dog. Go!.

Despite their differences, including in style of driving: fast vs slow, on road vs off road, etc, they decide to take a road trip. Actually it's their fourth trip together. Big Dog, Little Dog features an impromptu trip to the mountains where they have to break with their usual color coordination in order to get a good night's sleep.

I read this book for two reasons. The first is purely nostalgic in that I liked P.D. Eastman's books as a child. He was a good protege of Dr. Seuss, though a little less drawn to the non-sensical.

My second was, of course, for the road narrative project. How do the road narratives tropes translate to stories for the youngest of readers? Fred and Ted are first and foremost stories about opposites. They're also about friendship and learning to live with differences of personality and opinion.

Now in most road trip stories, the travelers share a vehicle, whether it's a car, an RV, a bus, or a panther. Even when going off road such as in Sean Gordon Murphy's graphic memoir Off Road.

Here though Fred and Ted insist on driving their own cars. In all fairness, they both like small, single person (or dog) sports cars. Here then the dogs' cars are extensions of themselves as characters, rather than a territory to be disputed, a separate character (such as "Baby" in Supernatural.

Four stars

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