Freddy the Pig

During the shopping adventures of Advent, I ran across a handful of Freddy the Pig titles in the Half Price Books. I’m pleased all of the Walter Brooks detective pig series is back in print. If you like children’s literature, you should be too.

The sf theme drew me to Freddy in fourth grade, but soon I was drawn in to the whole operation. I spent several weeks that year reading the whole series.

Read this New York Times ’94 summary of Freddy. Here’s an excerpt:

Poking fun at generals, realtors, bank presidents and the like was unusual fare for children’s books of the 1940’s and 50’s. Other volumes make a few digs at the space program and at the FBI – Freddy’s bumbling Animal Bureau of Investigation often misses the evidence right under his snout. In a subtle way the books even prefigured the spirit of the 60’s.

Small wonder, then, that some of the children who grew up on these books went on to found alternative newspapers, to march for civil rights and to become ardent environmentalists. Still, you don’t have to be in the 60’s generation to appreciate Freddy. As with all books that last, their attraction is broader and deeper. Essentially, they evoke the most

subversive politics of all: a child’s instinctive desire for fair play. Brooks speaks powerfully to his young readers’ moral sense without ever overtly moralizing. The local sheriff, for example tells Freddy’s sidekick, Charles the rooster, that he will get much tougher penalties for pecking the face of a rich man than that of a poor one. Truer words were never spoken. But how can a reader feel preached at when it’s someone talking to a rooster.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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