One of my very favorites when young, this middle-grade series deserves a re-read, and this reader is certainly up for the challenge. A twenty-six book series, begun in 1946 by author Walter R Brooks (and marvelously illustrated by Kurt Wiese), most of these books are currently out of print, but are well worth the hunt. Featuring the infamous Freddy the pig, (who did not become the much-loved star in the series until his breakout role in the 3rd installment, ‘Freddy the Detective’) these books have it all – dry humor and wit (laugh-out-loud in places, smile -worthy all the way through), the camaraderie and companionship of this likeable group of barnyard buddies, and engaging adventures that take this (adult) reader back to a time when life just felt simpler and somehow more wholesome.
In this edition , the first of the series, a group of farm animals belonging to Mr Bean, (a “short bearded man” who does his best, but cannot afford many luxuries), decide to migrate to Florida to escape the cold harshness of their winter existence.
A trip suggested by the garrulous Charles the rooster, the migrating group consists of Henrietta (Charles’ wife, a hen); Jinx (the cat); Mrs Wiggins (a cow); Jock, Robert and Jack (dogs); Hank (an old, white horse); Alice and Emma (white ducks); Eek, Quik, Eeny, Cousin Augustus (mice); Mr and Mrs Webb (spiders); and of course Freddy, the smallest and cleverest of the pigs.
Well worth the read, this delightful adventure will please any child (or adult) who has the good fortune to open it. With just enough whimsy, drama, danger and excitement to keep the reader engaged, this is a wonderful tale, perfect for bed-time read aloud, chapter by chapter. And the series, as I remember it (and will soon re-experience) only gets better from this point on.