Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Freddy The Detective by Walter Brooks

Most book lovers are familiar with the classic animal characters of children’s literature: Winnie the Pooh, the Velveteen Rabbit and Babar to name but three. But have you ever heard of Freddy the Pig? Between 1927 until his death in 1958, Walter Brooks wrote 25 Freddy books beginning with Freddy Goes to Florida. It took Brooks a book or two to fully develop his talking animals' personalities, and to my mind, he really hit his stride in the second book, Freddy The Detective. I read the entire series a few years ago and I can recommend them to both children and adults alike.

Freddy the pig lives on the Bean family farm in upstate New York along with the usual barnyard menagerie. Freddy is a poet, a Sherlock Holmes-obsessed detective, and editor of the Bean Home Newspaper. Earnest and self-assured, Freddy has a big heart and an even greater thirst for adventure. His friends Jinx the cat and Mrs. WIggins the cow can always be relied on to provide the common sense Freddy may lack. And they frequently get him out of self-inflicted jams.

Although written primarily for children, the Freddy books reflect much of what was happening at the time the books were written. Sophisticated off-hand asides and allusions to political and economic conditions, including suspiciously Nazi-like rats in the books written during World War Two, give the books an added depth that keep the adult reader interested. Outrageous plot lines, as in Freddy and the Baseball Team from Mars, as well as likeable and comically flawed characters can capture the heart and attention span of most children.

The Freddy books are the perfect read-aloud series: entertaining and wryly humorous. Although Freddy Goes To Florida is the first in the series, I recommend you start with Freddy The Detective. And you can reserve it here.

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