16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
When Freddy, in a sudden burst of irrepressible impishness manages to convince Emma and Alice, the Bean Farm ducks, to go for a balloon ride, he little expects that he too will have to take part in the adventure. But Mr. Golcher, the balloonist is every bit as sly as Freddy and, in no time at all Freddy has agreed not only to give a speech, but to ride with the ducks. What he also didn't realize until he was on the way up was that Mr. Golcher was staying behind, and that our pig, along with the duck sisters were on their own. When it turns out that the balloon has a faulty valve our not quite intrepid adventurers discover that they are in for an extended voyage.
All is not lost by any means. Freddy talks a friendly bald eagle into bringing them a food basket from the Bean kitchen, they weather a stormy night, and see some splendid scenery. Eventually, as all things do, the balloon descends enough for Freddy to get it down. Freddy leaves the ducks with the balloon and, after borrowing a tuxedo from a scarecrow, heads off to investigate. He soon discovers that the worst has happened. Mr. Golcher, infuriated at the loss of his balloon has accused Freddy of stealing it and the police of several counties are trying to capture the pig and bring him to justice. It will take all of Freddy's vast imagination and the help of both the Bean animals and the entire Boomschmidt Circus to get him out of trouble.
The reader will find many familiar characters here. In addition to the denizens of the Bean Farm and the Circus, Emma and Alice's Uncle Wesley manages to return. In addition, there are parachuting mice, somersaulting ducks and an ostrich ticket taker. Nor can one leave out the noble eagle, Breckenridge, who inspires a whole burst of poetry from Freddy. By the time the book reaches its climax the reader will be completely entranced as animals display character and style that we lowly humans can only imitate.
One of the nicest things about Walter Brooks' world is that the inevitable moral lessons are demonstrated rather than taught. And demonstrated in a delightful, ingenious way. In 1942 Brooks uses two timid lady ducks to demonstrate that adventuring is not just for male chauvinists and that having the courage to stand up for your rights keeps bullies at bay. Freddy's honesty saves the day at the end, and, as always, the importance of friends gets a good plug. Best of all is that the right things to do are also fun to do. Freddy is the pig for all ages.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2010
To be fair, some of series are a tad dull and uninspired. Ignore the critics: this is one of the top 10. It has perhaps the most believable villain, and some genuine moments of vision of a happier world. The United States had just entered WWII (notice the red, white and blue cover) and Brooks seemed to be counting some of his peacetime blessings. Brooks' (Freddy's) pathetic poetry is almost absent. Illustrator Weise, who delivers irregular performances -- possibly devoting more effort to the books he likes -- here produces highly detailed and complete drawings.
Freddy is not always on sound moral ground in the series. Here, he confronts an ambiguous adversary with self-examination and fairness. Some positive thinking from an age of America which is now rapidly fading behind us.
on August 10, 2012
Freddy, that daring and poetic pig, is back again to face his biggest challenge yet: becoming the first pig to ever give a speech and then ascend high over the heads of his audience in a hot air balloon, accompanied by two duck friends, Alice and Emma, and the spidery Mr. and Mrs. Webb. Freddy regrets that his previous endeavors have given him a reputation for bravery when he thinks of the adventure that lies ahead, but he faces it with courage (after failing to convince someone else to take his place) and sets off on a wild ride that ends quite differently than he expected! Instead of a short jaunt into the sky, he and his companions find themselves drifting high over New York state! Will they ever see the Bean farm again? Just when it looks like they might be able to make it home, they learn that they're being hunted as criminals, for the greedy balloon owner has accused them of theft! How in the world will they ever clear their names without being thrown into jail? Resourceful as ever, Freddy finds help from a few friends in a traveling circus and, once again, saves the day for himself and Mr. Bean.
Spunky animals, imaginative plot, detestable villains, cute settings (like a town where the sheriff spends his days pulling candy with the criminals and a traveling zoo staffed by talking animals), important moral lessons...they're all here in one of the best Freddy books I've read yet! Freddy can get himself into a lot of trouble, but he always learns from his mistakes and Brooks uses them to teach kids (and adults!) simple things about life that we often take for granted, such as the importance of saying "I'm sorry," even if you're not always sure that it's necessary, and of being brave, even when you're scared. Don't miss out on reading these books. Short, funny and sweet, they're just the right thing to pick up on a day you're feeling a little blue!