Freddy and Simon the Dictator

Our rating: ****

When a young rabbit talks back to Mr. Bean, Freddy and Jinx know something’s up. When they follow the clues to a rebellious meeting of animals bent on taking over New York, they realize something is terribly wrong. But Freddy is unable to do anything right away, since his old friend Mr. Camphor needs help getting out of a nomination for governor. Then when he gets back, Jinx has turned traitor! Freddy has his hands full as the revolution begins…

Freddy and Simon the Dictator could possibly be one of the funniest Freddy books ever written! In this day and age, the political satire is welcome and hilarious. As the comedy continues, the story warps into perhaps the most sinister plot Walter Brooks ever wrote for Freddy, but the light-hearted humor is still around. As is always the case with these books, the person reading aloud will have more fun than the child being read to.


Our rating: *****

On his 21st birthday, Andos, our hero, received, along with certain legal rights, the keys to an old desk of his father’s, which he has longed to examine for quite some time. Upon opening the desk he meets a fairy lady who tells him that he will find his way into fairy land on the following morning. Her prediction proves correct, and Andos finds himself in the world of fairies, where he meets living trees, queer people, dangerous beings, and all sorts of adventures—at times beautiful, at times horrible—and learns not to get so caught up in pursuing the ideal that he forgets the good.

This book is a dream, in more ways than one. It is one of my favorites. A classic fairytale, but full of beautiful word pictures and great thoughts. And some nice poetry, too. It is very like a dream because it flows from one encounter to another, sometimes with reason, other times with seeming randomness, but always as a coherent whole. The only two drawbacks with the book are, first: there is quite a bit of romance. Andos seems to have trouble with controlling his eyes, and falls in “love” with several fay, and this “love” is presented as a high idea. Second: the after-life is presented as a happy, loving, “one-with-the-world-around-you” existence. Read this with discernment, separating the pretty from the true or false.

One Hungry Monster

Our rating: ****

An increasing number of hungry monsters create general chaos at a boy’s house as they look for something to eat.

Everything here is in rhyme. For the first ten pages or so, the monsters ask to be fed. For the next ten, the boy brings out food. To finish the book, the monsters play with their food until the boy gets fed up with them (no pun intended).

The Great Redwall Feast

Our rating: ****

“Oho!” you say. “Sarah finally gets to read Redwall books!” Not quite. This can serve as a hold-over picture book for younger readers who can’t read the Redwall Series yet. (Like me.) There’s another Redwall picture book called A Redwall Winter’s Tale. Older readers who can read the Redwall Series will probably enjoy these picture books, as well as younger readers. I didn’t have much trouble understanding the mole-talk. (Except once, and then I finally got it figured out.) And now, here is a delightful summary of The Great Redwall Feast!

The animals in Redwall are preparing a secret feast for the abbot. After the abbot wakes up from his nap, he goes with Constance, Foremole and Matthias on a Bobbatan Quest for a Weary Nod. Is the abbot turning old and silly?

At the Back of the North Wind

Our rating: ***

When Diamond, a little boy, meets the North Wind, he goes on several adventures with her, riding safely in her arms or her hair. (Yes, you read that right, in her hair. She has lots of it.) At one point, Diamond even gets into the place at the back of the North Wind, where everything is wonderful. In his everyday life, Diamond soon becomes friends with a little orphan girl and does what he can to help her. He and his family go through several ups and downs and, unfortunately, the book ends sadly.

Well, actually, it wasn’t too sad when I re-read it for this review. I will warn you, though, that this is not the kind of book you can skim through! Unless, of course, you’ve read it half-a-dozen times and almost know it by heart. (Which I haven’t.) If you skip around in this book, you will most likely end up either Clueless and Baffled, or Mixed-up and Puzzled. Take your pick. Anyway, this is another almost nonsense book, a lot like The Garden Behind the Moon, (Do I sense a title theme here?) and it is very fun to read. Oh, and there’s also some poetry in it, too.