Freddy the Pilot
by Walter R. Brooks

Review by
Robert Wilfred Franson

illustrated by Kurt Wiese

Knopf: New York, 1952
247 pages

Overlook Press: New York, 1999

247 pages

July 2011


In Freddy the Pilot, Freddy (the pig) takes flying lessons, but not just for fun. It seems that Boomschmidt's Circus is hard-pressed — fortunately its people and animals are old friends of Freddy as well as the Bean Farm and Centerboro animals and people. Mr. Boomschmidt the proprietor, and Leo the lion, are the circus characters we see the most of.

Freddy the Pilot is one of Walter R. Brooks' greatly enjoyable Freddy the Pig series of children's novels. It's the nineteenth chronologically, published in 1952, so has plenty of characters already met; but can be read independently. See the series discussion at Troynovant for some background material.

The adventures and hijinks fly thick and fast in Freddy the Pilot. In addition to flying and the circus, we have the assorted characters of the Beam Farm and Centerboro. The locally famous detective firm of Frederick and Wiggins is called upon to help figure out how to stop the threat to the circus. Mrs. Wiggins is the intelligent one of the three cows on the farm, with a fine sense of humor.

We also have Uncle Ben with his genius for workbench inventions adding substantially to the plot, as indeed he does for subsequent books. Here it a a bombsight, and Freddy in his light plane gets to demonstrate it, using flour-bag bombs, to a delegation from the armed forces.

My parents, before they met, each were small-plane hobbyist pilots for a time. Naturally from my earliest readings of Freddy the Pilot, I've had a particular fondness for the book. I still do.

Red and gold wagons are coming down the street,
With a Boomschmidt, Boomschmidt, boom, boom, boom! ...


© 2011 Robert Wilfred Franson

Annotated list of Walter R. Brooks'
Freddy the Pig series

Juvenile at Troynovant
for a younger audience

Aerospace at Troynovant
air and space travel and development


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