Thursday, April 25, 2013

Freddy and the Ignormus

On our recent roadtrip, we listened to Freddy and the Ignormus. (Surprisingly, Amazon doesn't even list this CD audiobook, but they will try to sell you the Audible version.) The narrator was the same narrator who did Kafka, so it was a little getting used to him doing a kid's book.

I found myself eager to get back in the car to keep listening to the story. Freddy is a "detective pig" living on a farm where animals talk. The animals are afraid of the "ignormous" that lives in the woods. One day Freddy goes to the woods and sees the return of the rat Simon. The rats have caused nothing but trouble and Freddy wants to make sure they do something about them. However, the animals doubt that Freddy has actually gone to the woods and survived. The rooster makes some big speech to that effect and gets drafted in to go to the woods with Freddy. However, due to some more rooster grandstanding they end up going into the woods separately, with each running out after thinking they have seen the ignormous. (It turns out they had just got glimpses of each other from the distance.)

Meanwhile, the ignormous appears to be leaving messages to scare the animals and demand high ransomes. There is also a mysterious bank robbery and the appearance of some strange creatures. Freddy is trying hard to solve these issues when he gets framed for a grain robbery. Eventually he discovers that this is all parts of the rats' big scheme and the rats are exiled and the animals lived happily ever after.

This is what Orwell's Animal Farm would have been if he wrote children's books. It is a fun, engaging story, that never takes itself too seriously without being overly superficial.

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