The Freddy the Pig Series

By Walter R. Brooks

Page 1 of 2

This teacher's guide to teaching the Freddy the Pig Series was written by Michael Cart.

INTRODUCTION

With the 1927 publication of To and Again (later re-titled Freddy Goes to Florida), Walter R. Brooks began a series that would ultimately stretch to 26 volumes and become a classic of 20th-century American children's literature. Especially memorable for the richness of their characterizations, the books about the pig nonpareil and his many friends are also unforgettable celebrations of the value of friendship and the practical virtues of loyalty, steadfastness, kindness, and simply doing the right thing.

Always inventive in their plotting, satisfying in the authenticity of their rural and small-town settings, filled with memorable phrases and homely wisdom, the Freddy books capture the same kind of American spirit as do the Homer Price books by Robert McCloskey, E.B. White's Charlotte's Web, and Robert Lawson's Ben and Me and Rabbit Hill. Like these other masters, Brooks never underestimated or wrote down to his readers. His respect for them is reflected in the richness of his language and the thoughtfulness of his themes. Most importantly, perhaps, his books are among the very first enduringly significant humorous children's books of the 20th century. And they contain the best kind of humor, still fresh and relevant to today's readers: It arises naturally out of character and incongruity, is embellished with wonderfully inventive and witty word play, and is never mean or hurtful. It springs from both the mind AND the heart, a reason the Freddy books are universally beloved by readers of all ages. Another even more important reason is Freddy himself. Over the course of the series he plays many parts – detective, poet, journalist, politician, magician, cowboy, pilot, and more. But his most significant role is that of steadfast friend who, even though he's often so scared his tail comes completely uncurled, never fails to come to the rescue of those in distress. Freddy is a one-pig cavalry and one of the greatest characters in children's literature.

THE FREDDY BOOKS

Freddy Goes to Florida (1927)
(originally titled To and Again)
Tired of the bitter winter weather in upstate New York, the animals of the Bean Farm decide to go on vacation to Florida. Along the way they meet the President, outwit a band of hungry alligators, encounter burglars, and discover buried treasure.

Freddy Goes to the North Pole (1930)
(originally titled More To and Again)
Inspired by the success of their Florida trip, the animals launch an expedition to the North Pole, where they meet Santa Claus and "rescue" him from the bumbling efforts of a band of sailors who are determined to streamline his toy production.

Freddy the Detective (1932)
Freddy, who has been a major supporting character in the first two books, finally moves to center stage when, inspired by reading The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, he decides to become a detective. Of all the roles Freddy would play, the recurring one of detective is the most important. Many people regard this book as the best one in the series.

The Story of Freginald (1936)
Freginald is a young bear who runs away from home to join Mr. Boomschmidt's circus. Freddy doesn't make an appearance until the final third of the book, when he helps the bear solve a baffling mystery and save the circus. This is the first book in the series in which the animals talk to human beings.

The Clockwork Twin (1937)
The animals rescue a boy named Adoniram from his villainous aunt and uncle. When they realize he is lonely, they persuade Mr. Bean's inventor uncle, Ben, to build the boy a friend out of wood, a clockwork twin. Freddy then assumes the role of detective to track down the boy's real-life lost brother, Byram.

Freddy the Politician (1939)
(originally titled Wiggins for President)
Anxious to prove themselves reliable, Freddy and his friends start a bank and form a government, the First Animal Republic. Simon and his family of rats, sworn enemies of Freddy since Freddy the Detective, try to turn the republic into a dictatorship, but are foiled by the ingenious pig. This book is often compared to George Orwell's Animal Farm.

Freddy's Cousin Weedly (1940)
Freddy's best friend, Jinx the cat, adopts the pig's young cousin Weedly and tries to teach him courage and self-reliance. Some of the other animals think he succeeds too well! In the meantime, Freddy writes a play and foils an effort by Mr. Bean's Aunt Effie to steal a family heirloom.

Freddy the Ignormus (1941)
A mysterious something that calls itself the Ignormus moves into the haunted Big Woods. The Ignormus begins terrorizing the adjacent farm and extorting food from the animals by threatening to eat them, until Freddy the detective comes to the rescue!

Freddy and the Perilous Adventure (1942)
Freddy and the ducks, Alice and Emma, go aloft in a hot air balloon. Blown off course, Freddy is accused of stealing the balloon and must go into hiding with the Boomschmidt Circus. Meanwhile his friends, led by Leo the lion, help to clear Freddy's good name.

Freddy and the Bean Home News (1943)
Freddy starts the first animal newspaper, The Bean Home News, to the consternation of the wealthy Mrs. Underdunk and her evil brother, Herb Garble, who own the rival human paper, The Centerboro Guardian.

Freddy and Mr. Camphor (1944)
Freddy takes a summer job as caretaker on the estate of the wealthy C. Jimson Camphor. Things get complicated when, first, the rats show up, and then the evil Zebedee Winch and his dirty-faced son Horace (two villains from Freddy Goes to Florida) put in an appearance. Freddy is not too busy foiling their plots to take on a new role: he becomes an artist!

Freddy and the Popinjay (1945)
Freddy transforms the nearsighted robin, J. J. Pomeroy, into a popinjay, and turns a neighboring farm boy, Jimmy Witherspoon, from a pest into an ally. Things get complicated when a family of wildcats shows up on the farm.

Freddy the Pied Piper (1946)
Freddy must rescue his old friend Leo the lion, who has been captured by a dishonest pet shop owner. But that's only the beginning of a page-turning adventure that will take the animals all the way to Virginia to save the Boomschmidt Circus from financial ruin.

Freddy the Magician (1947)
Freddy becomes an amateur magician, antagonizing Senor Zingo, a professional magician with the circus. Can Freddy best him in a grudge match performance, and foil the man's efforts to defraud the Centerboro Hotel?

Freddy Goes Camping (1948)
Disguised as a camper, Freddy goes undercover to save the old hotel at Lakeside from an infestation of ghosts. But then the Bean Farm itself comes under attack by the rats and their ally in evil, the mysterious Mr. Eha.

Freddy Plays Football (1949)
Freddy goes back to school to become the star of the Centerboro High School football team, but he isn't too busy to foil a plot to defraud Mrs. Bean of her family inheritance.

Freddy the Cowboy (1950)
Freddy saves a horse named Cyclone from its abusive guest ranch owner, Cal Flint. When the man vows revenge, a group of rabbits calling themselves the Horrible Ten rally to Freddy's rescue.

Freddy Rides Again (1951)
When the wealthy, fox-hunting Margerine family buys a neighboring farm, Freddy disguises himself as a desperado named Snake Peters, and attempts to save his friend, John the fox. Freddy also teaches the Margerines' son, Billy, a lesson in humility and humanity.

Freddy the Pilot (1952)
Freddy takes to the skies to save the Boomschmidt Circus from the machinations of an evil magazine and comic-book publisher, Watson P. Condiment.

Freddy and the Space Ship (1953)
Uncle Ben builds a space ship and blasts off for Mars with Freddy, Jinx, and others as crew members. One misadventure follows another, as Charles the rooster is kidnapped and Freddy goes into disguise as the alien Captain Neptune.

The Collected Poems of Freddy the Pig (1953)
A highlight of each Freddy book is the inclusion of the talented pig's poetry, which is collected here in one volume and embellished with pictures by Kurt Wiese, whose illustrations for all the Freddy books are an important part of their enduring popularity.

Freddy and the Men from Mars (1954)
Freddy learns that Martians have landed on Earth and have joined Mr. Boomschmidt's circus. He begins to smell a rat, however, when he learns that the Martians' manager is his old enemy, Herb Garble.

Freddy and the Baseball Team from Mars (1955)
Still with the circus, the Martians form a baseball team. When one of them is kidnapped, Freddy goes into disguise as their coach, the elderly Mr. Arquebus, and quickly encounters an old adversary, Mr. Eha.

Freddy and Simon the Dictator (1956)
Simon the rat returns and, with the unlikely assistance of Jinx the cat, turns the Bean Farm from a republic to a dictatorship. Is Jinx a traitor? And will the rats succeed in conquering the nearby estate of Freddy's old friend, Mr. Camphor?

Freddy and the Flying Saucer Plans (1957)
A gang of international spies descends on the Bean Farm, hoping to steal Uncle Ben's plans for a flying saucer. Through a comedy of errors, Freddy is branded a traitor and must go into hiding, disguised as a gypsy fortune-teller.

Freddy and the Dragon (1958)
When a crime wave strikes Centerboro, Freddy launches an investigation and – shades of Washington Irving – encounters a headless horseman! With the inventive help of Uncle Ben, Freddy cracks the case.



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