From School Library Journal
Before chapter books and easy-to-read books, children made the transition from picture books to novels through the liberally illustrated, episodic adventures of engaging characters. Many children of the '30s, '40s, and '50s learned to love reading because of Freddy the Pig and his Bean Farm friends, 26 animal fantasies written by Brooks and illustrated by Wiese. In his introduction, Cart concludes that "[Wiese's] pictures do more than simply illustrate the words of the text; they expand them and immeasurably enrich the reader's experience of the books." This 75th-anniversary volume includes 200 illustrations and text fragments from the books, supported by Cart's assessment. The topical organization-disguises, moods, food, villains, etc.-cuts across the art published between 1927 and 1958, so the variations of line and Freddy's shifting "maturity" add interest to the large, open page design. A 24-page color section showcases the cover art for each title. There is no list of sources for each selection, no analysis of Wiese's style, and no essay of historical context. Rather, as Cart says, this book is, "simply put, a feast for the eye." The "Freddy" books are now back in print, so there will be both old and new fans interested in this celebration, but this book also has a place in academic libraries serving students of illustration and the history of children's literature.Sue Burgess, Framingham State College, MA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
About the Author
Walter R. Brooks (1886-1958) was born in Rome, New York. He worked for several magazines including The New Yorker and his short stories were published in the Saturday Evening Post, the Atlantic Monthly, and Esquire ."Ed Takes the Pledge" was the basis for the 1960s television series, Mr. Ed but Brookss most lasting achievement is the Freddy the Pig series, which began in 1927 with To and Again (Freddy Goes to Florida). He subsequently wrote twenty-five more delightful books starring Freddy, "that charming, ingenious pig" (The New York Times).