“ Paperback: 64 pages / Publisher: Statics / Published: 15 Sep 1991 „
Most people are probably familiar with the Fred cartoons from the popular series of greetings card. More Fred (the cunningly titled sequel to Fred) gathers together a selection of the Fred cartoons and puts them together in one book.
The cartoons centre around the antics of Fred - a balding middle aged man - his wife and their friends. Each cartoon consists of a single black and white drawing with a caption underneath commenting on what is happening in the picture. Sometimes these are silly, sometimes surreal, sometimes downright odd. In the world of Fred, you are never quite sure what is going to be lurking on the next page.
The Fred cards have become known for their slightly surreal humour which takes a skewed look at life or presents a rather odd picture of typical suburban middle class life. What was particularly good about this collection was that it contained an awful lot of cartoons which I hadn't actually seen before. Some of them have been on the greetings cards, but the vast majority of them were new to me. This meant that the book didn't have the stale feeling that I initially feared it might, but actually had an awful lot of variety.
One thing you can be sure of is that most of them will make you smile, a few will make you laugh quietly to yourself; and more than a few will make you chuckle out loud. In fact, I think there were only two cartoons in the entire book that I felt were weak and uninteresting, which is not a bad hit rate for a collection like this.
Of course, that's going to vary from person to person. I tend to have a slightly off-beat sense of humour, so find the surreal musings of the Fred cartoons appealing. If you like more straightforward jokes (ones with a "proper" punchline), then you might not find More Fred quite as funny. However, I'm pretty sure that most people will find the odd musings of Fred and his friends at least mildly entertaining.
It's also a pleasant change to see a book of humour that doesn't rely on toilet humour, foul language or obscene jokes to raise a smile. Whilst one or two of the cartoons border on a little risqué, there is nothing that is likely to cause serious offence. This is a book that can be appreciated by people of all different ages - and it's not often you can say something like that where humour is concerned.
The cartoons might be relatively simple line drawings, but they are perfectly suited to the book's rather bizarre humour. They might not be the most sophisticated cartoons in the world, but artist Fawcett is excellent at capturing expressions. Fred and his friends are an endearing bunch who seem to make their way through the world in a permanently bewildered state. All this is perfectly captured in the simple, but effective drawings that are often as surreal as the captions they accompany.
It's not going to take you long to read this book. Even lingering over them, each cartoon is going to take no longer than 10 seconds to look at and the whole book can be read from cover to cover in less than 10 minutes. That might not seem great value for money for a book with a cover price of £5.99, but there are two bits of good news.
Firstly, whilst More Fred is not going to take long to read, it is a book that you will want to read more than once. It's a title that's fun to pick up and browse through every so often and will always raise a smile when you do. It's a book that can quickly cheer you up when you are feeling a bit down and randomly opening it at virtually any page will make you smile.
The second is that the cover price of £5.99 is rather misleading. Since it's been out a while (and was mass produced) copies of More Fred are easy to come by. A second hand copy will cost around £2 and even a new copy won't cost that much more. That makes it far better value for money.
There's not really much more you can say about More Fred. If you have seen and laughed at the cards in shops, then you will appreciate this book. If you have not yet entered the world of Fred, then you could do a lot worse than pick up this collection for a couple of quid. After all, that's about the price of one of the cards and here you get dozens of the cartoons and not just one.
© Copyright SWSt 2012