1. TO AND AGAIN (later re-titled FREDDY GOES TO FLORIDA). 1927.
The first book in the series and the one which Walter R. Brooks
himself felt was the best of the bunch. First published in 1927,
the book is notable not only as the first title in the series
but as a book which helped usher in modern American children's
literature, especially in its wonderful use of realistic language
and humor. The plot is simply re-told: tired of long, hard winters,
the animals on the Bean Farm in upstate New York decide to take
a vacation trip to Florida. The book recounts their travels and
the adventures they encounter along the way. Freddy is not the
hero of this first book in the series. Instead, he is identified
simply as "the youngest and the cleverest of the pigs (on
the farm)." The animals encounter burglars, outwit and group
of hungry alligators, and discover buried treasure which they
take back to the farm and present to Mr. Bean who vows, in turn,
to make their lives easier. As we will come to expect in later
books, he is as good as his word.
2. MORE TO AND AGAIN (later re-titled FREDDY GOES TO THE NORTH POLE). 1930.
Like most sequels this is not as successful as its predecessor.
The plot is basically a re-hash of the first, except that this
time the animals go north instead of south -- all the way to the
North Pole, in fact, where they meet Santa Claus and, along the
way, rescue two children, Ella and Everett, from their abusive
aunt and uncle. Freddy is a more prominent character in this book
but is still not center stage. Buy me a drink at the next Freddyfest
and I'll tell you about the origins of the characters of the sailors
who are secondary characters in this title.
3. FREDDY THE DETECTIVE. 1932
Freddy, inspired by a book he had found in the barn (THE ADVENTURES
OF SHERLOCK HOLMES), decides to become a detective. Mrs. Wiggins,
the cow, becomes his partner (Freddy supplies the imagination,
she provides the common sense!). Freddy will play many roles in
the books which follow but that of detective is probably the one
he will most often be required to fill. This book, incidentally,
marks the first appearance of Simon the rat and his family as
Freddy's chief antagonist(s).
4. THE STORY OF FREGINALD. 1936.
Freginald is a young bear who joins Mr. Boomschmidt's circus.
Freddy doesn't make an appearance until the final third of this
book when he helps Freginald solve a mystery and save the circus.
Freginald was too much like Freddy to have a lasting place in
the series and, in fact, this is his only major appearance. Another
of the circus animals, Leo, becomes Freddy's best friend (next
to Jinx, the cat), however, and appears in may of the subsequent
books. This title is significant not only because it introduces
the circus -- which figures in many of the later books -- but
also because it is the first time in the series that animals talk
to human beings.
5. THE CLOCKWORK TWIN. 1937.
The animals rescue a boy named Adoniram Smith from a flood and
from his wicked aunt and uncle, in that order. Adoniram comes
to live on the farm. When the animals realize that he is lonely,
they ask Mr. Bean's inventor uncle, Benjamin Bean, to build another
boy out of wood. The result is amazingly lifelike and, powered
by clockwork (hence the title of the book), is able to do many
of the things a normal boy would do. A sub-plot involves the animal's
efforts to find Adoniram's real-life brother, Byram. Needless
to say, this is a job for Freddy the detective. The fate of Ad.,
By., Ella, and Everett -- all of whom simply disappear from the
series - has provided much opportunity for heated debate among
the Friends of Freddy. (My theory -- that the Beans sell all of
the kids into white slavery -- is hotly disputed . . . )
6. WIGGINS FOR PRESIDENT (later re-titled FREDDY THE POLITICIAN). 1939.
Anxious to prove to the Beans that they are sufficiently responsible
to run the farm while the Beans go to Europe on vacation, the
animals found a bank and start a government, the First Animal
Republic. The rats, in league with a family of woodpeckers who
have blown in from Washington (literally, since a storm blew them
off-course and onto the Bean Farm), attempt to turn the republic
into a dictatorship but are foiled by Freddy. This book is often
compared with George Orwell's ANIMAL FARM, which it predates by
some ten years. It is probably the quintessential Freddy book,
in its humor, themes, and characterizations.
7. FREDDY'S COUSIN WEEDLY. 1940.
Jinx the cat "adopts" Freddy's young cousin Weedly and
teaches him courage and self-reliance. Meanwhile Mr. Bean's aunt
and uncle show up at the farm and, finding the Beans gone to Europe
and not understanding that the animals are capable of running
the farm in the Bean's absence decide to stay. Unfortunately Aunt
Effie decides that this is the perfect opportunity to claim as
her own the silver teapot which her aunt had left to Mr. Bean.
The animals, led by Freddy, must find a way to foil this effort.
The action in this one gets bogged down by Brooks's interpolation
of the text of a too-long play by Freddy.
8. FREDDY AND THE IGNORMUS. 1941.
Something -- nobody is quite sure what -- called the Ignormus
terrorizes the farm and extorts food from the animals by threatening
to eat them. The Ignormous lives in the Big Woods north of the
farm where the animals have, historically, been reluctant to go
and quickly assumes larger-than-life proportions. This title is
one of the most popular in the series with many of the Friends
of Freddy, perhaps because of the suggestion of the supernatural
which overlays the book. (It turns out, in the end, that the rats
are behind the plot and that the Ignormous is nothing but a sheet
which the rats drop out of trees at appropriate moments. It takes
some serious detective work by Freddy to reveal this, however!).
This book marks the first appearance of Jinx's gabby and overbearing
9. FREDDY AND THE PERILOUS ADVENTURE. 1942.
For reasons too complicated to summarize here, Freddy (along with
the ducks, Alice and Emma), has to go aloft in a balloon which
-- for even more complicated reasons -- gets loose from its moorings,
leaving the impression that Freddy has stolen it. After several
narrow escapes Freddy goes into hiding with the circus where his
friends -- especially Leo -- help him clear his good name. A subplot
involves the return to the farm of the ducks' pompous and boastful
10. FREDDY AND THE BEAN HOME NEWS. 1943.
When Mr. Dimsey, Editor of the Centerboro GUARDIAN, loses the
newspaper to the thoroughly wicked -- and exceedingly wealthy
-- Mrs. Underdunk, Freddy helps by starting a rival newspaper,
THE BEAN HOME NEWS, the first animal newspaper. Mrs. Underdunk
and her brother, Herbert Garble, will re-appear in later titles
as enemies of Freddy (it's their life's ambition to capture Freddy
and send him, in a crate, to their uncle Orville Garble's ranch
in Montana). A sub-plot involves the animals' efforts in a scrap
iron drive (the book was published during World War II), including
their stratagems for getting an iron deer from Mrs. Underdunk's
front lawn. Brooks has fun satirizing politicians in the person
of the pompous and long-winded Sen. Blunder.
11. FREDDY AND MR. CAMPHOR. 1944.
Freddy is hired to serve as summer caretaker for the estate of
the wealthy C. Jimson Camphor. Things get complicated when, first,
the rats show up and then -- horrors! -- the evil (and dirty)
Zebedee Winch and his son Horace put in an appearance (these are
the previously unnamed man with the black mustache and the dirty
faced boy from TO AND AGAIN). Freddy adds a new talent to his
portfolio in this title: he becomes a painter as well as a detective,
poet, banker and newspaper editor.
12. FREDDY AND THE POPINJAY. 1945.
This is a book about transformation -- how Freddy transforms the
nearsighted robin J.J. Pomeroy into a popinjay (bad mistake, Freddy!)
and young Jimmy Witherspoon from a pest into an ally. A subplot
involves the appearance of a family of wildcats on the farm and
Mr. Bean's falling into the pit which the animals have dug to
trap the cats. A tad too moralistic, this is one of my least favorite
titles in the series, although I do love the scene where Mr. Pontoon
mistakes Freddy for an ambassador (and who wouldn't?!).
13. FREDDY THE PIED PIPER. 1946.
My favorite of all the Freddy books, this story shows Freddy at
his ingenious best helping the circus animals to rescue the circus
which has fallen on hard economic times. Freddy first hatches
a scheme to rid houses in the nearby village of Centerboro of
an infestation of mice in order to raise the money the circus
needs. Of course, he alienates the farm mice (Eek, Quik, Eeny,
and Cousin Augustus) in the process AND has to call on the owl,
Old Whibley to adjudicate the dispute. Then he must rescue Leo,
who has been captured by the evil pet shop owner Gwetholinda Guffin,
and then the animals must make a dangerous journey to Virginia
where the circus is spending the winter. Of course, the money
is stolen along the way and Freddy must recover it. Then, finally,
he must trick Mr. Boomschmidt, the circus owner, into accepting
the money (Mr. B. is too proud to accept charity). Lovely, hilarious
14. FREDDY THE MAGICIAN. 1947.
Freddy becomes an amateur magician and arouses the ire of Senor
Zingo, the circus's professional prestidigitator. This leads to
a hilarious grudge match of magic and prestidigitation (guess
who wins?). Minx makes an encore appearance in this one and is
every bit as annoying as before. A sub-plot involves Zingo's attempts
to defraud the Centerboro Hotel and a cameo appearance by its
manager, Ollie ("I've always had a weakness for this here
15. FREDDY GOES CAMPING. 1948.
Mr. Camphor makes another appearance, this time enlisting Freddy's
help in dealing with his two aunts and in saving the old hotel
at Lakeside from an infestation of ghosts (the aunts, one gloomy;
the other, cantankerous) are easier to deal with than the ghosts
but Freddy's skills as a detective (and his disguise as old Dr.
Hopper) are once again sufficient to carry the day. The rats reliably
provide much of the villainy in collaboration, this time, with
the evil and mysterious Mr. EHA.
16. FREDDY PLAYS FOOTBALL. 1949.
A double-barreled novel: both mystery and sports story. The mystery
involves the appearance on the Bean Farm of Mrs. Bean's long-lost
brother Aaron Doty (or is he?), claiming his share of the family
inheritance. The sports story involves Freddy's becoming a member
of the Centerboro High School football team, tossing around the
ol' pigskin (!) and once again surviving Herb Garble's attempts
to ship him off to Montana.
17. FREDDY THE COWBOY. 1950.
Freddy saves a horse named Cyclone from its abusive owner, Cal
Flint, who has opened a guest ranch near the Bean Farm. Cy teaches
Freddy to ride. Freddy bests Flint in a rodeo competition and
must then find ways to save his, as it were, bacon, when Flint
vows revenge. This title is notable for its introduction of the
Horrible 10, a band of rabbits who rally to Freddy's defense.
In later books their number swells to twice that and they become
the Horrible 20 . ("We are the Horrible Twenty/ Of ferocity,
boy! we've got plenty!")
18. FREDDY RIDES AGAIN. 1951.
More cowboy stuff. This time Freddy runs afoul of the wealthy
Margerine Family which has bought an estate near the Bean Farm.
Freddy disguises himself as a desperado named Snake Peters and
teaches the Margerine's son, Billy, a lesson or three in humility.
19. FREDDY THE PILOT. 1952.
Mr. Bean buys Freddy an airplane and the pig takes to the skies
to help save the circus from the machinations of the evil comic
book publisher Watson P. Condiment, my favorite villain in the
whole series. Mr. Condiment not only has designs on the circus
but on its star equestrienne, Mlle. Rose. The book ends happily
(what else?) when Mr. Boomschmidt, the circus's owner, realizes
that he is in love with Rosie and the two marry. The only love
story in the Freddy series.
20. FREDDY AND THE SPACE SHIP. 1953.
Uncle Ben builds a space ship and the animals blast off to Mars.
An accident in space turns the ship around without its passengers'
knowledge and they land on earth, thinking they have landed on
Mars. The ensuing complications are hilarious and involve Mrs.
Bean's hapless cousins, the Bismuths (Ed Bismuth, the paterfamilias,
is one of Mr. Brooks's most hilarious creations). This book is
notable, too, for bringing one of the earlier books' minor characters,
the aged Mrs. Peppercorn, center stage. If you think Freddy's
poetry is bad, wait until you hear Mrs. Peppercorn's!!! ("Some
stars are large and some are small/ And some are quite invisiball.")
21. THE COLLECTED POEMS OF FREDDY THE PIG. 1953.
This is a collection of Freddy's poems from all the books plus a few originals.
22. FREDDY AND THE MEN FROM MARS. 1954.
Hard on the heels of Freddy's misadventures in space comes the
news that the Martians have landed and have joined the circus.
Freddy's suspicions are aroused when he learns that the Martians'
"manager" is none other than Herb Garble. Sure enough,
the "Martians" turn out to be the rats in disguise.
But then real Martians land, and the fun begins. This one is dedicated
to Dorothy Brooks. She and Walter had been married the year before.
23. FREDDY AND THE BASEBALL TEAM FROM MARS. 1955.
The real Martians like earth and decide to stay, becoming star
attraction with the circus. But things become complicated when
one of their number is kidnapped. Freddy dons a disguise as the
aged Mr. Arquebus to find the missing Martian. Meanwhile Mr. Boomschmidt,
always anxious to give his customers their money's worth, decides
that the Martians should form a baseball team. Freddy, still in
disguise, is pressed into service as their coach. The plot thickens
when the evil Mr. EHA (the villain of Freddy Goes Camping) puts
in an appearance.
24. FREDDY AND SIMON THE DICTATOR. 1956.
The animals are revolting! Simon the rat is determined to turn
the farm into a dictatorship. Mr. Camphor has been persuaded (much
against his better judgment) to run for governor of New York State.
Herb Garble shows up, Jinx defects to the enemy (or does he?),
and Freddy goes to work. Brooks has a lot of fun in this one satirizing
politics and -- especially -- politicians. (Mr. Camphor IS elected
governor, and Freddy becomes the political boss of Otesaraga County).
25. FREDDY AND THE FLYING SAUCER PLANS. 1957.
More politics: a gang of international spies is trying to steal
the plans for Uncle Ben's flying saucer. Freddy gets involved
and, through a comedy of errors, is branded a traitor. He goes
into disguise (as a gypsy fortuneteller), outsmarts the spies
and clears his good name. Most readers agree that this is the
weakest novel in the series.
26. FREDDY AND THE DRAGON. 1958.
A crime wave hits Centerboro. Freddy sets out to solve the case
and runs into a headless horseman. Shades of Washington Irving!
With a little help from his friends and with a lot of Uncle Ben's
ingenuity Freddy solves the crime. This novel, the last in the
series, also introduces Mrs. Wiggins' father, a bull named Percy,
who needs a lot of reforming, and features Samuel Jackson, a mole who sounds
a little too much - I say, a little too much - like Foghorn Leghorn.
Unfortunately, this title isn't much better than Flying Saucer
Plans. Brooks died two months before its publication.
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