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Freddy the Magician

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First published between 1927 and 1958, the 26 classic books about Freddy the Pig have delighted five generations of children and are now going on to delight a sixth generation. Freddy, who has won so many admirers in his roles of detective, pied piper, editor, general advisor to the animals on the Bean Farm, and—always—poet, will fascinate his readers in his role of magici First published between 1927 and 1958, the 26 classic books about Freddy the Pig have delighted five generations of children and are now going on to delight a sixth generation. Freddy, who has won so many admirers in his roles of detective, pied piper, editor, general advisor to the animals on the Bean Farm, and—always—poet, will fascinate his readers in his role of magician. Freddy pulls some wonderful tricks, not the least of which is outwitting the fraudulent magician who comes to entertain the unsuspecting inhabitants of the nearby town of Centerboro. 


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First published between 1927 and 1958, the 26 classic books about Freddy the Pig have delighted five generations of children and are now going on to delight a sixth generation. Freddy, who has won so many admirers in his roles of detective, pied piper, editor, general advisor to the animals on the Bean Farm, and—always—poet, will fascinate his readers in his role of magici First published between 1927 and 1958, the 26 classic books about Freddy the Pig have delighted five generations of children and are now going on to delight a sixth generation. Freddy, who has won so many admirers in his roles of detective, pied piper, editor, general advisor to the animals on the Bean Farm, and—always—poet, will fascinate his readers in his role of magician. Freddy pulls some wonderful tricks, not the least of which is outwitting the fraudulent magician who comes to entertain the unsuspecting inhabitants of the nearby town of Centerboro. 

30 review for Freddy the Magician

  1. 5 out of 5

    Wendy Bousfield

    Impressed by the performance of a circus magician, intellectually curious Freddy resolves to learn magic. When the animals meet Zingo, however, he dismays them by shamelessly bragging of his international fame (“a performance that has been given before all the crowned heads of Europe, that has won deafening applause in every first-class theatre”) and insulting Mrs. Wiggins the cow (“your fat silly face gives me acute indigestion”). When Zingo’s magic hat is lost, Presto, the magician’s white rab Impressed by the performance of a circus magician, intellectually curious Freddy resolves to learn magic. When the animals meet Zingo, however, he dismays them by shamelessly bragging of his international fame (“a performance that has been given before all the crowned heads of Europe, that has won deafening applause in every first-class theatre”) and insulting Mrs. Wiggins the cow (“your fat silly face gives me acute indigestion”). When Zingo’s magic hat is lost, Presto, the magician’s white rabbit, enlists Freddy to recover it. When Presto claims (falsely) that the magician has fired him, the kind-hearted Bean animals make him at home on the Bean farm. To reciprocate, Presto gives Freddy magic lessons. Freddy finds the magic hat, inside of which is money that Zingo had stolen from the circus. The novel’s plot culminates in Freddy’s and Zingo’s on-stage competition in magic prowess. Zingo loses ignominiously; and Freddy’s friend, Leo the circus lion, frightens Zingo into fleeing town. As in FREDDY AND THE SPACE SHIP, Freddy the Pig utilizes his skills as a detective to expose and expel a villain who preys on Centerboro animals and humans. In Brooks’ fictional world, Zingo and Presto are stock characters—unscrupulous outsiders who prey upon the innocent, unsuspecting residents of Centerboro. Brooks’ Freddy books, popular in the 1940’s and 50’s, display the mandatory didacticism characteristic of children’s books of the time. Because Freddy continues to enchant readers of all ages today, it is worth examining Brooks’ moral universe. In THE RHETORIC OF FICTION, Wayne C. Booth maintains that a reader’s willingness to embrace a novel’s implied value system is far more important than a reader’s “willing suspension of disbelief.” In Booth’s terms, it is less important that a child accept talking animals per se than that she buy into the value system of Freddy’s “implied author”—values that underlie Cemterboro’s harmonious human/animal cooperation. The Freddy books celebrate modesty, selflessness, and empathy. In FREDDY THE MAGICIAN, the cat Minx, is punished for her self-centered boasting when the Bean animals pretend she is invisible. Charles the rooster, in love with his own oratory, is periodically chastened. What, for me, however, is most endearing about Freddy is his championship of underdogs. Freddy is unfailing ready to rescue any exploited creature, no matter how lowly. In FREDDY THE MAGICIAN, FREDDY GOES TO FLORIDA, and FREDDY AND MR. CAMPHOR, Freddy displays compassion for insects, tiny creatures that humans and animals routinely ignore or kill. The insects Freddy rescues aid him in crises. In FREDDY THE MAGICIAN, Zingo has connived to eat for free at Ollie Groper’s Centerboro hotel by planting insects, caterpillars, and spiders in his food, loudly proclaiming that the hotel is contaminated. When Freddy releases them from an airless box, they (along with the Bean mice, Eek, Eeny, Quik and Cousin Augustus) assist Freddy in his magic competition with Zingo. Freddy wins the duel against the experienced magician because mice and insects sabotage Zingo’s tricks and aid Freddy’s performance. In an era of authoritarian parenting, Brooks’ child readers must have identified with small life forms treated as second-class citizens! A consideration of the moral universe of the Freddy books would, unfortunately, be incomplete without noting their odd xenophobia. In FREDDY THE MAGICIAN, Zingo and Presto are devious Italians; in FREDDY AND THE SPACE SHIP, the Midwestern Bismuths are intruders in upstate New York. FREDDY AND THE SPACE SHIP and FREDDY THE MAGICIAN end similarly, when the evil outsiders are forced to leave Centerboro on a bus. Though Mr. Bismuth (SPACE SHIP) and Zingo (MAGICIAN) are criminals, they do not belong in the Centerboro jail. Zingo and Bismuth would contaminate an environment so pleasant that one recently released criminal steals a chicken in order to play on the jail’s baseball team. Though Freddy’s fictional milieu teaches compassion to the smallesst Centerboro resident, outsiders are, all too often, stereotypical villains. The Freddy books, alas, teach suspicion of geographical outsiders.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Nicolette

    Freddy books are great. I never read them as a child. My husband did and loved them. We have read to our grandkids over Skype and they love the Freddy books too now that we introduced them to them. There is humor and pathos and wonderful characters. Always a treat to read a Freddy book!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    Fun Children’s Book I read the Freddy the Pig books in elementary school and decided after lo these many years, to reread them. Still fun. Silly but fun.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Katy Lovejoy

    I've always loved this one I've always loved this one

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alida

    We loved this book. Senor Zingo it about the most villainous villain in any of the Freddy books. It was hard to stop at the end of some chapters because of the cliff hangers. As with all the Freddy books, I do edit a bit as I read to the grandkids. Sometimes a character will tell the other to "Shut up." which I change to "Be Quiet." Also, I tone down Henrietta's hen-pecking of her husband Charles. I know; conscientious Grandma. :-) Onto Freddy the Pied Piper next week. We loved this book. Senor Zingo it about the most villainous villain in any of the Freddy books. It was hard to stop at the end of some chapters because of the cliff hangers. As with all the Freddy books, I do edit a bit as I read to the grandkids. Sometimes a character will tell the other to "Shut up." which I change to "Be Quiet." Also, I tone down Henrietta's hen-pecking of her husband Charles. I know; conscientious Grandma. :-) Onto Freddy the Pied Piper next week.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Nathaniel

    It was super funny. He becomes a magician. There's a hurricane at the beginning of the book and a magician loses his hat and so a rabbit is like I'll teach you magic if you'll find his hat. So he finds it, so the rabbit teaches him magic. It was super funny. He becomes a magician. There's a hurricane at the beginning of the book and a magician loses his hat and so a rabbit is like I'll teach you magic if you'll find his hat. So he finds it, so the rabbit teaches him magic.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

    I Liked it

  8. 5 out of 5

    Christina

    Delightful, as usual. We all love the Freddy books, although our library only has a certain selection of them, so we had to purchase this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cwalsen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Benjamin Kahn

  11. 5 out of 5

    Catnapcorner

  12. 4 out of 5

    Bethany

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jen

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joshah J

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alethea

  16. 5 out of 5

    Lily

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  18. 5 out of 5

    Blondbs

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Mueller

  20. 5 out of 5

    Doodle

  21. 4 out of 5

    Reese

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ron Larocque

  23. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

  24. 5 out of 5

    Michael Anderson

  25. 4 out of 5

    Karen

  26. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Marsha

  28. 4 out of 5

    Benny

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ackerley

  30. 5 out of 5

    Olaf Tollefsen

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