Lee’s Homeschool Reading List (3)

Go away, I'm reading Purrnest Hemingway." | Cat reading, Cat books, Cats

So… Mr. and Mrs. Bean want to make a trip to Europe, and they’re trusting their animals to run the farm while they’re away. Taking the responsibility seriously, Freddy the Pig and his friends decide they need to set up a farm animals’ bank… and then a farm animals’ republic.

And from that point on, things get very, very gnarly.

Freddy the Politician (Freddy the Pig): Brooks, Walter R., Wiese, Kurt: 9781468313727: Amazon.com: Books

Ages 12 and Up: Freddy the Politician, by Walter R. Brooks

Young children enjoy the Freddy books for the stories and the characters. We adults who read them enjoy the subtle humor.

I’d never read this one before. Written in 1939, we have a tale of electoral chicanery, voter manipulation, clever tricks played with the citizenship–hey! This is hitting way too close to home!

In light of some of the stress our country has been put through in just the past few years, Freddy the Politician might lend itself to fruitful discussions with teen-age readers. Really, this is not your typical Freddy book. Some of the mischief Brooks envisioned in 1939 seems to have taken some 80 years to come to fruition. Brooks’ fantasy is today’s headline nooze.

I haven’t yet finished reading this rather shocking book, so I can’t spoil it for you. Suffice it to say I have no idea at all how this is going to turn out! Mr. Brooks, you’re way ahead of me.

Lee’s Homeschool Reading List

Go away, I'm reading Purrnest Hemingway." | Cat reading, Cat books, Cats

Interviewing me for the podcast yesterday, Andrea Schwartz had a good idea. Why not compile and maintain a reading list for homeschooling families? And, of course, anyone else who wants to get into the reading habit. The books recommended would not be any that you’d find on any public school curriculum.

I wasn’t sure how to set this up, but then decided I might as well just plunge into it and let it find its own shape over time.

The books on the list would have to be compatible with Christian faith, or at least not contradictory or subversive to it, entertaining (because we want you to read more!), “educational” in the broadest sense, and available without much difficulty.

So here goes! First two books on the list–

Ages 12 and Up:

Herodotus, The Histories/ The Persian Wars. A writer who can stay in print for 2,500 years doesn’t do it by being boring! Herodotus, nicknamed “The Father of History,” and other nicknames not so nice, like “That liar!”, offers a mix of history, travelogue, tall tales, and enough exotic material to fascinate you twenty times over. I like the Penguin paperback, with the translation by Aubrey de Selincourt. Honest, it’s one of the most entertaining books ever written–just the thing for breaking out of the digital stupor.

12 and Under:

The Freddy the Pig series, by Walter R. Brooks. I discovered these when I was nine years old, and have been reading them and loving them ever since. Kids will love the talking animal characters and exciting situations; adults will love the subtle humor that they didn’t fully appreciate as ten-year-olds. (Only Brooks would ever describe a beetle as “motherly.”) The series starts off with Freddy Goes to Florida–the first one I read–and quickly shifts into high gear. And there are a couple dozen of these books to keep you busy.

Well, that’s the start of my Homeschool Reading List. I’ll add to it from time to time, and entries will always be stored in the blog archives for easy reference.

Chuck the phones and open the books!

‘Freddy and the Bean Home News’

Image result for images of freddy and the bean home news

Is it okay for me to review a book when I’ve only just started to read it? Yeah, well, why not?

Only Walter R. Brooks would ever think of starting a sentence with these words: “There was an ant named Jerry Peters…”

I got this for Christmas this year, Freddy and the Bean Home News. It’s one of the few Freddy the Pig books that I haven’t read. But I know I’m going to love it.

I read a lot of these when I was a little boy, scarfed ’em down like marshmallow peeps. Back then, it was the story and the characters that kept me coming back for more. But now I read them for the subtle wit and humor that went right over my head when I was ten or twelve years old. How many writers can write just as effectively for young children and mature (chronologically, at least) adults? I think I might enjoy them even more now than I did as a child–and that’s saying something.

What could be more soothing, more quietly hilarious, than a Freddy book? Mr. Brooks cranked them out for almost 40 years, and there’s not a bad one in the bunch. Ideal for reading aloud to your kids or grandchildren; and just as ideal for reading for yourself.

Many of these have been recently reprinted, and the rest are available online through used book services. Rejoice!


Cozy Kittens and Goats

For those of you for whom the goose video was too intense, here’s something much more quiescent. Note the kitten who wants to sleep in the hay, which is, inconveniently, the goats’ dinner. But nobody gets mad, everything’s peaceful and benign.

If this were a Freddy the Pig book, after the filming, they’d get together to start a barnyard newspaper or something.

My Bathroom Sink Is Fixed and I am Beat!

Image result for images of exhausted animals

From time to time I have to take the bathroom sink apart and unclog the drain pipes. It’s not a complicated job, but one thing makes it devilishly hard–the room’s too small! I can’t get into a comfortable position to work. Every move I make turns into some kind of dreadful yoga exercise. And, as Kipling once said, “The heat would make your bloomin’ eyebrows crawl.” Mine were halfway down the stairs before I caught them.

Knowing it was going to be unseasonably roasting hot today, I got up early to take my bike ride before the temperature soared. After my daily conference with my editor, I did a bunch of blogging. Then that torture in the bathroom. Then write and submit my book review for Chalcedon.

And all of a sudden, I’m beat.

I want my “Columbo” episode! I want my Freddy the Pig book! But those delights come later. For the time being, it’s just iced tea and me.


Still Image Test, Take 1

Image result for images of freddy the pig

Freddy the Pig is here because my wife devised a method of posting still images, after the method I used successfully thousands of times suddenly stopped working, for no discernible reason. As you can see, her method works. That means I won’t have to set up the laptop every time I want to post an image.

Freddy was pretty smart. I wonder if he could’ve figured out computers. I know I can’t.

A Wonderful Book for Kids–and for You

Image result for freddy and the perilous adventure

How about a wholesomeness break? Yeah!

I had this book when I was a little boy, and now I’ve got it again. I loved Walter R. Brooks’ Freddy the Pig books when I was ten years old, and I love them even more, now.

If you’re looking for something wholesome, extremely funny, and full of unexpected twists and turns, either for your children to read on their own, or for you to read aloud to them, or for you to read in bed and revel in it, you can’t do much better than Freddy and the Perilous Adventure. Published in 1942, it doesn’t show its age at all. And if you really like it, there are 26 books in the series.

Brooks, who also created Mr. Ed the talking horse, is one of those rare authors who can delight children and adults on two different levels at once. If you think that’s easy, try it sometime.

In this outing, Freddy, along with two ducks and a pair of spiders, goes up in a balloon that won’t come down again. It turns into a somewhat intense predicament–especially when they get caught in a thunderstorm. Accused of stealing the balloon, Freddy not only has to devise a way to get back down to earth, but also to repair his reputation.

Try it! You’ll like it.