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Happy Birthday, Don Freeman!

corduroyA Pocket for Corduroy by Don Freeman (1908 – 1978) was a favorite of mine as a kid, and I have shared the book with my own children. It’s a lovely tale of a bear who lives at the toy store until he is bought by a girl named Lisa.

When we find books we like, my boys and I often visit our local library to find more stories by the same author. We discovered Corduroy & Company, which includes eleven tales written and illustrated by Don Freeman. We learned about Tilly the Witch and Norman the Doorman. When we read Pet of the Met, about the mouse who turned pages for the conductor at the Metropolitan Opera House, my kids learned about Mozart’s The Magic Flute. The library has a great video recording of opera made for kids (only 42 minutes long)– it’s narrated in English and sung in the original German. Once my boys watched the opera, they had a new appreciation for the little white mouse, Maestro Petrini, and his adventures in Pet of the Met. Celebrate Don Freeman’s birthday by sharing his stories with your kids:

A List of Don Freeman’s children’s titles:
1950 Chuggy and the Blue Caboose (by Don and Lydia Freeman)
1953 Pet of the Met (by Don and Lydia Freeman)
Award: The NY Herald Tribune Children’s Spring Book Festival Award
1954 Beady Bear
1955 Mop Top
1957 Fly High, Fly Low
Award: Caldecott runner-up prize, 1958
1958 The Night the Lights Went Out
1959 Space Witch
1959 Norman the Doorman (Film strip, 1966; Movie, 1971)
1960 Cyrano, the Crow
1961 Come Again Pelican
Awards: Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People, 1962, Nakamori Prize, 1976
1963 Ski Pup
1963 Botts, the Naughty Otter
1964 The Turtle and the Dove
1964 Dandelion
1967 A Rainbow of My Own
1967 The Guard Mouse
1968 Add-a-Line Alphabet
1968 Corduroy
1969 Quiet! There’s a Canary in the Library
1969 Tilly Witch
1970 Hattie, the Backstage Bat
1970 Forever Laughter
1971 Penguins, of All People
1972 Inspector Peckit
1973 Flash, the Dash
1974 The Paper Party
Award: 1974 Juvenile Award from the Commonwealth Club of CA.
1974 The Seal and the Slick
1975 Will’s Quill
1976 The Chalk Box Story
1976 Bearymore
1978 A Pocket for Corduroy

Published posthumously:
2000 Gregory’s Shadow
2001 Corduroy & Company, A Don Freeman Treasury
2003 Manuelo the Playing Mantis
2005 Earl the Squirrel

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1 comment
  • Great to read how my father’s books are still popular! For your information, PET OF THE MET will be republished in a new edition in the Spring of 2008 and a new Corduroy toy doll will be available. I will be giving a short presentation at the international Children’s Book Fair in Bologna Italy on March 31 and there will be an exhibition in October of my father’s graphic works from New York in the 1930’s and 1940’s as well as his illustrations for children’s books. Check out his website for more information. I am sure Don would have been overjoyed to know you like his books so much after all these years! I thank you.
    Best wishes,