I take myself too seriously sometimes. So, God has gifted me with an eight year old who, after finishing our reading of one Freddy the pig book (Freddy and the Bean Home News) did not want to pursue other reading adventures, but wanted to plunge right into Freddy and the Men from Mars. To read about a pig who can walk upright, talk, write poetry, solve mysteries, and fool people with a variety of disguises, well, that lightens me up measurably.
In this latest book, the habit of a character named Mrs. Peppercorn of turning ordinary sentences into ‘poetry’, leads the other characters to do the same. At one point Freddy and Jinx the cat were on an errand which led them across a stream crossable only by stepping on a series of rocks.
Jinx dashed across; then he turned and looked back. “Look out for that second stone, Freddy,” he said. “It’s prob’ly wobbly.”
“Prob’ly wobbly, hey?” said Freddy. “That’s a good one. Well, I’ll be careful. I bet that water’s rilly chilly.”
“Swallow a lot of it and it’ll cause ya nausea.” Jinx replied, and then laughed so hard at his own joke that he slipped off the bank into the edge of the stream.
Later, Mrs. Peppercorn is explaining to some ‘Martians’ her theory that in poetry, poets should try for new rhymes that have not been tried before. To illustrate, she ‘improves’ the poem ‘The Night before Christmas’:
All through the house ’twas the night before Christmas.
Not a creature
Would meet yer
Neither Mr. nor Miss Mouse.
“Now what have you got?” Mrs. Peppercorn said. “Instead of one ordinary rhyme: ‘house’ and ‘mouse,’ you’ve got two brand new ones: ‘creature’ and ‘meet yer,’ and ‘Christmas’ and ‘Miss Mouse.'”
The eight year old beside me and my inner eight year old find that hysterical.
Find yourself an eight year old, real or imagined, or someone who is not too proper to act like an eight year old and can play the part, and read Freddy. We are not talking Newberry sophistication. We are talking lighthearted silliness.
I need that every so often.
A PS for the serious minded. In 1994 the NY Times published a positive assessment of Freddy and his pals.