Monday, August 29, 2022

Walter R. Brooks, Freddy and Mr. Camphor (1944)

Freddy's tired of lying around in the heat one summer, so he responds to a wanted ad in the Bean Home News to take a caretaker position at the estate of Mr. Camphor, a rich guy (how he got rich is never explained).  It's all very idyllic, but there are two problems: first, Simon and his family have taken residence in the attic and are chewing up Camphor's paintings.  Second, and more importantly, remember The Man With The Black Mustache and His Dirty-Faced Son (“he stays dirty and throw stones because his father tells him that's the manly thing to do.”  Masculinity doesn't get more toxic than that)?  They made a tiny cameo appearance in Perilous Adventure, but here they're more consequential.  Their names are Zebedee and Horace Winch.  They sort of barge into the estate, aided by the fact that the cook is Zebedee's estranged wife, and what's worse, they frame Freddy for theft and get him fired.  Oh no!  Will this problem be solved?  And will Zebedee and Horace be at least semi-reformed by the end?  Probably.  There's also a pair of toads, Elmo and Waldo, who have been displaced from their home and whom Freddy has to help. 

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Friday, August 26, 2022

Walter R. Brooks, Freddy and the Bean Home News (1943)

So now World War II is explicitly going on.  Part of this book involves an effort by the animals to have a scrap iron drive to gather metal for the war effort.  “No country can fail to win its wars when even the animals are patriotic,” we are told.  Of course.

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Monday, August 22, 2022

Walter R. Brooks, Freddy and the Perilous Adventure (1942)

This was one of the handful of Freddy books that were rereleased in, I guess, the eighties, which my dad got in paperback. I learned the word “perilous” from this very book, I will tell you that.

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Saturday, August 20, 2022

Walter R. Brooks, Freddy and the Ignormus (1941)

Here's one of the most popular Freddy books.  A lot of people call it their favorite, including my dad.  Let's see, shall we?

What's an ignormus?  Well, it's not an ignoramus.  For a while I thought that was what it was and assumed my dad had been mispronouncing it when reading it to me.  But nope—ignormus.  The word has a good flow to it.  I approve.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Walter R. Brooks, Freddy's Cousin Weedly (1940)

Oh ho!  You knew about Freddy!  But did you know about his cousin...Weedly? Well, now you do.  I sort of feel like these entries are going to get shorter as the series kind of establishes itself and starts feeling more familiar.  But, we'll see how it goes!

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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Walter R. Brooks, Freddy the Politician (1939)

There is a lot to say about this book, but before anything else, have a look at the most bonkers quote I ever expect to see in this series:

Mr. Bean knew that his animals could talk, but he was a pretty conventional man.  That means that he didn't like new things very much.  He liked to have everything go on as it had when he was a boy.  And so it made him feel uncomfortable and a little embarrassed when he heard animals talk.  He just couldn't get used to it.

Comment is probably superfluous here.  Brooks, you maniac!

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Saturday, August 06, 2022

Walter R. Brooks, The Clockwork Twin (1937)

Here's this!  More human children!  What happened to our previous human children, Ella and Everett? you might ask.  Shouldn't you do, I don't know, anything with them before you introduce new ones all willy-nilly?  I'll tell you: they've “gone abroad for a year with Mrs. Bean's sister, and the Beans are alone again.”  Oh.  Okay.  Welp.  I'm pretty sure they're just written out of the series after this without a further thought, so don't think too much about them!

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Monday, August 01, 2022

Walter R. Brooks, The Story of Freginald (1936)

So, to speak first of the titles: there's this one, then there's The Clockwork Twin, and then Wiggins for President, and after that all the titles start with “Freddy.”  Wiggins for President became Freddy the Politician, but for some reason, the other two have seemingly been change-resistant: they were reprinted as Freddy and Freginald and Freddy and the Clockwork Twin, but you never hear those alternate titles, and the current Overlook Press reprints use the originals.  Who knows?

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