Saturday, February 1, 2020

Review: Fred's Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers by Laura Renauld

The Life and Legacy of 
Mister Rogers
by Laura Renauld
Illustrated by Brigette Barrager
Atheneum Books
40 pages
ages 4 to 8

An inspiring picture book biography about the inimitable Fred Rogers, beloved creator and star of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

Fred Rogers was a quiet boy with big feelings. Sometimes, he felt scared or lonely; at other times, he was playful and joyous. But when Fred’s feelings felt too big, his Grandfather McFeely knew exactly what to say to make him feel better: I like you just the way you are.

Fred grew up and created Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the television program that would go on to warm the hearts and homes of millions of Americans. But one day, the government threatened to cut funding for public television, including Fred’s show. So, Fred stepped off the set and into a hearing on Capitol Hill to make his feelings known.

In a portrait full of warmth and feeling, Laura Renauld and award-winning illustrator Brigette Barrager tell the story of Mister Rogers: a quiet, compassionate hero whose essential message—that it is okay to have and to express feelings—still resonates today.

This book is not associated with or authorized by Fred Rogers Productions.


This is a beginning biography which highlights one of the most children friendly, concerned television personalities to hit the screens.

Mister Roger's Neighborhood was a part of my childhood as much as brushing my teeth or evening prayers. It was a treat to watch him, and today, as an adult, my respect for him has grown. This book does a wonderful job at taking several basic highlights from his life and surrounding them in exactly the atmosphere, which Fred Rogers radiated to the world. This alone made the book a delight to read and dive into. 

As a biography, it's well written and sticks to a few facts, while allowing young listeners/readers to gain a bigger picture of what Fred Rogers was about. It's never dull and keeps the pace quick, while not forgetting to portray Mr. Rogers' dreams. I do believe that this book has a much larger impact on audiences who have seen Mister Roger's Neighborhood, then it would on those who haven't gotten to know his show.

The illustrations fit well and bring across the various times in Fred Rogers' life nicely. There are added details here and there to make it fun just to flip through even when no one is around to read it out loud. 

While young audiences will enjoy this one—even more so when combined with Mr. Rogers' shows— it especially will warm the hearts of those who grew up as his 'neighbors'.

And here they are...

The Author...
As a child, Laura Renauld enjoyed being one of Mister Rogers's television neighbors. A Vermonter at heart, Laura now lives in northern Virginia with her husband and their two sons, who are very special indeed. Visit her at

The Illustrator...
Brigette Barrager is an artist, designer, writer, and the illustrator of Pocket Full of Colors by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville as well as the New York Times bestselling Uni the Unicorn by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. She resides in Los Angeles with her handsome husband, cute doggy, and terrible cat. Visit Brigette online at

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