Friday, November 10, 2006

The Return of Freddy

I'm clearly not in the right demographic to remember the 26 children's books written by Walter R. Brooks and illustrated by Kurt Wiese starring Freddy the Pig, "the smallest and cleverest" of the pigs on the Bean Farm. The first book, To and Again (later retitled Freddy Goes to Florida) appeared in 1927. Apparently they were quite popular in the 1940s and 1950s before going out of print. They have been republished recently by Overlook Press; I have a copy of The Freddy Anniversary Collection that includes the first three books, including my favorite thus far, Freddy the Detective. I especially like the silly song the rats sing about Freddy:

The sleuth,
He busted a tooth,
He's a silly old bonehead, and that is the truth

Freddy the pig,
He talks very big,
But all that he's good for's to guzzle and swig

Freddy the fat,
He's never learned that
It takes forty-nine pigs to equal one rat.

Needless to say the story culminates with Freddy's redemption, but I don't want to give away more than that.

The illustrations for the Freddy books by Kurt Wiese are fabulous, by the way. Overlook Press has published a great collection of many of the illustrations called The Art of Freddy that I also highly recommend. You can learn more from the Friends of Freddy website about these charming books. I think I'll be reading them to my niece and nephew this holiday season.


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