Thursday, November 13, 2014

Newspaper article about our convention. Fun was had by all! Check out the newsletter for some of the talks presented.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

2014 Friends of Freddy Convention

'Tis the 75th anniversary of Wiggins for President, and as it is also an even-numbered year, the Friends of Freddy are holding our biennial conference on November 7-9. This year, it is taking place at the lovely White Eagle Hotel in Hamilton, NY. To quote from the FoF website:
For our 2014 convention, we're visiting Hamilton, NY, a town that looms large in the life of Walter Brooks and his family and where, indeed, he is buried.
Additionally, it's the 75th anniversary of the publication of Wiggins for President, so we're taking that as a theme for the weekend. Details will be forthcoming.
Anyone is welcome to give a presentation. If interested, please contact convention chair Henry Cohn at .
*Based on Wiggins for President, copyright © 1939 Walter R. Brooks, copyright © renewed 1967 Dorothy R. Brooks. Published in 2000 by The Overlook Press, Peter Mayer Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.


The 2014 Friends of Freddy convention will take place at the White Eagle Hotel and Conference Center, 2910 Lake Moraine Rd., Hamilton, New York, November 7-9, 2014.
Registration is free for Friends of Freddy members, $25 to nonmembers. However, registration includes a two-year US membership in the Friends of Freddy, a $25 value.

A preliminary schedule is forthcoming"

Hope to see anyone reading this there!

Thursday, August 21, 2014


     The Centerboro Public Library was an impressive building in the gothic style. Freddy admired it for a moment before heading inside. Placing his fore trotters on the front desk, Freddy said to the kindly chief librarian, Mr. Harrison-Lee.  “I need to see the Necronomicon.”

     Mr. Harrison-Lee nodded and quietly led Freddy to a set of shelves labeled “Special Interest.” Pulling out a sinister, leather bound tome, the librarian handed it to the pig. “Be careful, Freddy,” Harrison-Lee said quietly.

     Freddy thanked him, setting the Necronomicon down on a nearby reading table. He began to examine it, looking for any mention of the words in the chant Archibald had recited.


     It was dark when Freddy set out that night for the meteoroid site. Mrs. Wiggins had wanted to come with him. But the pig told her that stealth was essential. Freddy told her what he had learned from the Necronomicon: that Meshelth was one of the Great Old Ones, an elder being who had once ruled over the Earth before accident or joke created life as animals and humans know it now; that the chant is an appeal to Meshelth, and that It can be summoned to this place of existence by performing a sacrifice on the first of October, a day that apparently has some hideous significance to Meshelth.

     “But, Freddy, that’s tonight. Even if that silly old book is true, you don’t want to get yourself sacrificed.”

     Freddy shook his head. “That is exactly why I have to go up. I can’t let those creatures summon Meshelth to our world.”

     Mrs. Wiggins shook her head, exasperated. “Well, at least take Jinx. He’s still awake, over on the porch. We were just talking about the meteoroid.”

     Freddy nodded. “Good night,”Mrs. W.”

     The cow’s big brown eyes suddenly brimmed with liquid sadness.  “Watch out for yourself, Freddy. This is more dangerous than Mr. Condiment, or Garble, or the rats.”

     Freddy nodded again and set off to get Jinx. He found the cat on the porch, just as Mrs. Wiggins had said, and soon the two animals were heading up to the Big Woods. The quickly darkening sky lent as eerie air to their mission and Freddy found himself shivering in anxiety.

     Suddenly, a coarse voice called out, “I’m coming too, you animals!”  It was Jonas, running up to them from behind.

     Freddy made no objection; the rough and tumble turkey could be a help on this adventure. They soon reached the other side of the Big Woods, settling into a spot in the underbrush that afforded an excellent view of the clearing. For an hour the trio waited, and whispered arguments about whose paw was on who's tail feathers, and whose talon was pinching who's tail. Soon enough, however, a procession of the squirrel abominations marched out into the clearing. There were six of them in total, and they formed a ring around the meteoroid itself. The squirrel creature who had spoken earlier started up a chant, but this incantation was different from the one Archibald had heard.

     Meshelth  al’g  shig  kanneloth!” he repeated over and over, and other squirrel-like things soon joined in. Freddy’s face went bone-white.

     “I remember that from the Necronomicon … It’s the summoning chant for Meshelth, the elder terror himself! We have to stop it!”

     Without waiting for the pig to continue, Jonas suddenly broke cover and dashed headlong into the center ring of creatures, bowling over two squirrels and beginning to slap a third with his tough old wings. Jinx followed, flinging himself at the leader, claws bared. Normally not one for such blunt tactics, Freddy shrugged and followed, chasing down the only squirrel still chanting. Leaping at the foe from behind, Freddy gave the creature a savage bite with his long teeth. The creature stopped chanting to cry out in anger, turning to the pig with two paws full of ragged claws. Freddy stared. Squirrels weren’t supposed to have claws. The horror dealt Freddy a deep scratch on his belly, and here Freddy got really mad (which also probably had something to do with that overwhelming, rotten perfume).
     He bellowed and charged, knocking over his opponent and continuing on to slam into a squirrel monster that was sneaking up on Jinx. After a hit like that from a pig of Freddy’s ample girth, not even the hideous squirrel got up. Meanwhile, Jinx had beaten up the leader and was fighting another creature, as was Jonas. They both quickly knocked out their opponents and walked over to Freddy.
     Suddenly, the head squirrel stood up awkwardly as if it was unsteady in its body. Its claws began to grow sharper and larger in size, its slit of a mouth expanded into a nightmarish, gaping maw, and a mass of evidently prehensile tentacles exploded from its chest. The beast approached ponderously, rapidly gaining the feel of its new form. Its tentacles reached out, gripping Jinx, who kicked and spat. It pulled the feline in closer, seemingly unbothered by Jinx’s flailing claws, which left no mark on the monstrosity.
     Freddy dashed forward, but even his jaws had no effect on the thing. For the first time since the Ignormous incident, Freddy felt pure terror. This thing seemed invincible. Finally, just as the being brought Jinx in inches from its monstrous mouth, Jinx managed to free himself, twisting out of the tentacles’ grasp. The … thing roared in fury, raising its claws and advancing toward Freddy, next to whom Jinx had landed. The princely pig shut his eyes, trying to remain brave as his grisly fate approached; his stocky trotters felt too gelatinous to move.
     Without warning, four loud BANGs sounded. Freddy opened his eyes to see the abomination reeling backward. A final BANG and the creature fell to the ground. The pig and the cat turned to see Jonas holding a Colt pistol which he had evidently concealed in his feathers. Jinx straightened up importantly. “I weakened it for you.”

     The three adventurers told no one about what they had seen, not even Mrs. Wiggins or Whibley, Jr. After much persuasion, Freddy got Mr. Bean to go up to the Big Woods and break apart the meteoroid with a sledgehammer. Inside, they found a large skull of ominous geometry unlike any living thing on earth. Freddy promised Jinx that he would bring it to a museum in Syracuse, but instead buried it a ways down the road after smashing it apart with a hefty rock. After the skull was destroyed, the life grew back around the landing site within a few seasons. However, Freddy never did figure out where the degenerated squirrels had come from. He was happy not to know.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


    Late summer on the Bean farm had been particularly hot this year, and sticky; the kind of weather Freddy despised. He and Mrs. Wiggins sat under a tree near the cow barn, playing Twenty Questions with a turkey named Jonas. Jonas was a tough, lean old bird who claimed to have fought in Germany during the last war. Freddy and Mrs. Wiggins didn’t quite believe him because, as you know, turkeys are apt to stretch the truth a bit.
     “No, it’s not a bicycle,” Freddy said to the turkey. “That’s your last question.”
      Jonas protested, “That’s only my nineteenth question, you cheater!” He raised one leathery wing threateningly.
      Mrs. Wiggins laughed. “Oh, for goodness’ sake, calm down, Jonas. Why, when you came back with us from Syracuse, we didn’t know you would be such a fowl loser!” Her eyes widened and the cow guffawed thunderously. “Oh, dear, Freddy, I have made a joke, haven’t I?” Cows are always surprised and a little embarrassed by their own comedic potential.
     Freddy grinned, starting to speak in verse,
                     “The cow makes a joke                                                   
            She just laughs and laughs and laughs
                        Animals stay back.”

     “That’s a haiku,” he added importantly. Freddy had recently read about haiku in a book of poetry from the Centerboro Public Library, and had immediately informed his friends that haiku were “very popular just now.”

     Jonas spoke up,

                        “Jonas hit pig
                               It hurts
                     Get back to game!”

     “No, Jonas,” Freddy protested, “that has the wrong number of syllables. It’s supposed to be five-seven-five –“

     Just then the shadow of a large bird appeared and the trio looked up to see Archibald, the eagle, circling overhead.

     “Freddy,” the eagle called down, “magnificent specimen of the porcine race that you are, I require your material assistance on a not-trivial matter.”
     Years earlier, while on the North Pole trip, Freddy had written a very complimentary poem about eagles, and it had circulated throughout the eagle community. As a result, all the eagles far and wide had a high opinion of the pig.

     “What is it, Archie?” Freddy yelled back, “Come down here, I can barely hear you.”

     Mrs. Wiggins shook her wide head. “Freddy, don’t order eagles around like that. They’re so regal, and for you to give them commands … it, well, it doesn’t go!”

     Freddy ignored the cow’s complaints. The eagle landed in front of the pig, turning warily to appraise Jonas. Archibald turned back to Freddy. “Recall, if you will, the meteoroid that struck ground north of what you call the Big Woods.”

     “The one that hit last fall? I remember,” said Freddy. He had tried to write a poem about the fiery spectacle, but had instead fallen asleep and smudged the ink.

     “Indeed,” continued Archibald. “Confoundingly, the area within a few meters of the meteoroid has, to this day, remained utterly devoid of life. Upon, noting that curious fact last week, I attempted, as an eagle ought, to investigate the source of the barren lifelessness. Barely had I come within ten meters of the ground, however, before a brigade of small animals broke from concealment in the nearby shrubbery, hurling small spears in my direction. This phenomenon repeated itself twice, the most recent occurrence only ten minutes hence. I seek your aid in investigating this curious state of affairs.”

     Freddy nodded sagely as if to suggest that he was already well aware of this issue, which of course he was not. “The Detective Firm of Wiggins, Whibley, and Bean will look into the matter.”

     Whibley, Jr. was Vera’s son, named for his great-uncle, Old Whibley. The young owl had pestered, and indeed successfully shadowed, Freddy until the pig let him join the detective agency, whereupon Whibley, Jr. soon proved adept at tailing suspects and discreetly gathering evidence. “I told you so, Freddy,” Mrs. Wiggins had said. “That little bird has a brain between those wings.”

     “Archibald, “Freddy continued, “did you notice anything else at the site?”
      The eagle cocked his head to the side, trying to remember, then nodded. “Yes, I always heard the ruffians repeating something that sounded like: ‘Alsh  rg’geh nuhle Meshelth’.  Some sort of odious incantation, no doubt.”

     Freddy and Mrs. Wiggins thanked the eagle, who continued on to his afternoon tea at the home of Mrs. Vanessa Penniforth in Centerboro.

     “We’d better get Jinx and Whibley, Jr. and head up there as soon as possible,” Mrs. Wiggins observed in a rare moment of rapid action.

 Jonas started off towards the cow barn. “Tell me if you find anything interesting. In the meantime, I’m due for some sleep.” The gruff bird disappeared into the dark doorway and Freddy and Mrs. Wiggins set off to collect their companions.


     “Eagles are, well, they’re just too dignified!” exclaimed Jinx, upon being filled in on the way through the Big Woods. Jinx wasn’t certain what “dignified” meant, but he had the impression it was a very bad thing. “Why couldn’t he come with us? Sure woulda helped.”

     At this, Whibley, Jr. scoffed. “Aw chucks, Jinx, don’t you think the four of us can handle this?”
     Jinx murmured something rude under his breath, and stopped suddenly. “Ugh, don’t you smell that, pig?”

     “Smell what?” asked Freddy. But a few more steps brought the scent into his nostrils. It was a horrifying, cloying stench, smelling of the dark moldy things that lurk far underground, like nothing Freddy had ever smelled before.

     “Oh, my,” said Mrs. Wiggins, “that really is awful. It smells worse that Mr. Bean does when he goes without washing.”

     Freddy was certainly not going to let a bad smell stop him, though, and he pressed on, motioning for the others to follow. From the branches of a nearby beech tree, Whibley, Jr. sounded an alarm. “Stop, animals! I can see a few creatures coming toward us.”

     In a moment, those creatures came into view of the other animals. They bore the general characteristics of squirrels, but their faces were hideously deformed: mouths that were little more than crooked slits, noses twisted at unearthly angles, and huge, cloudy eyes.

     “Hello,” Freddy began, “we’re trying to find the landing site of the meteoroid from last year.”

     One of the squirrel-things cut him off. “It is not here.”

     Jinx spoke up, “We know it’s still nearby. An eagle friend told us so, and he also told us you weren’t very friendly to him.”

     The squirrel creature who had spoken blinked those horrifying eyes. “The eagle was interfering with my family.” He gestured at the creatures with him. The other squirrel-things, hunched and with squalid fur, all blinked at precisely the same time.

     Mrs. Wiggins moved up and whispered in Freddy’s ear, “I don’t like this, Freddy. I don’t want to get into a fight with these animals, whatever they are.”

     Freddy nodded. “Very well, sir, we will bother you no more. Come on, Jinx, let’s go.”

     The four Bean animals turned and began heading back to the farm. As they walked, Whibley, Jr. landed next to Freddy and asked, “Freddy, you read a lot. You know something about everything.” At this, Freddy straightened himself importantly. Whibley went on, “Have you ever heard of anything like this?”

     Freddy nodded slowly. “Yes… I think so. When   we get home, I need to head down to the library.” The pig wouldn’t say any more than this, however, despite Whibley’s, Jinx’s, and Mrs. Wiggins’s best attempts to wheedle information out of him. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Another Call for Anecdotes

Do you have any stories about old conventions or fond memories of yesterpig that want only sharing? Send in any FoF- or Freddy- related anecdotes you'd like to share to

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Best List of the 100 Best Children’s Books in the Last 100 Years

When the New York Public Library published its 100 Top Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years, many of the Friends of Freddy were shocked: not a single Freddy book could be found on the list.  Members wrote in on the listserv: 

“It’s a travesty.”

“Methinks it’s time for a protest.”

Others offered their opinion (not always favorable) on books that made the list, and suggested other books that should have been on it.  In response, the Friends of Freddy has decided to create our own 100 Best Children’s Books list! And we are turning to you, our august readers, for help.

Send us your list of the top 10 children’s books of the last 100 years. Do it right now!
Don’t put it off until tomorrow. Quick!  Without overmuch thought, what are the best 10 children’s books you have ever read?  Enter them in the comments below and let us know.

Here are the rules:

1) You can submit only ten.

2) Of your ten, no more than five can be Freddy books. (This is called playing fair.)

3) Deadline for submissions:  March 1, 2014 at midnight.

We will compile the results, weighting them in some mysterious mathematical way that I don’t understand, but Kevin Parker does, and we will publish the list in the next issue of the Bean Home News. If you would like to see the New York Public Library’s List it can be found at this link:

Thank you in advance for your participation in creating our own list!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Happy Holidays from the Friends of Freddy!

     I've always enjoyed Freddy's entry into the Christmas genre, More To And Again or Freddy Goes to the North Pole. It features, as do so many other Christmas books, a threat to that pillar of the Yuletide season, Santa Claus. In a clever twist, however, the threat is not hostile-the whalers see themselves as helping Santa modernize (a comment on the development of world economies over the century before North Pole's publication?). These whalers, lead by the steely Mr. Hooker, are perhaps the most relatable villians ever to stare down Freddy and his friends. Indeed, the confrontation between the two groups is, unusually, initiated by the Bean bunch. These whalers play games with the animals, eat ice cream jovially, and throw snowballs-a far cry from the murderous Herb Garble and the vindictive Simon.
     North Pole also marks the end of the first great era of Freddy's adventures, that time when Brooks' overall view of the books was of a group of animals thrust into unusual places. I think Brooks realized that, as good as these first two entries in the series are, the series couldn't continue under this model, and, sure enough, the next Freddy book, Freddy The Detective, was based on the animals themselves providing the incongruities with ordinary barnyard life. Happily, there was enough character development in Florida and North Pole to allow for this shift to proceed, for the most part, painlessly. It's pretty clear that the series was not meant to focus on Freddy originally, as he (admittedly debatably) dowsn't serve as the central character for a novel again until number 8, Ignormus. 
     In conclusion, we at the Friends of Freddy would like to wish all of you Happy Holidays! Enjoy (or despise) the Christmas music swirling out from every radio station while you can.