C. S. Fritz writes and illustrates a children’s trilogy that is a part fantasy adventure, part parable for young readers.
In Cottonmouth and the River, we meet Frederick Cottonmouth, a boy who loves the river and adventure. His new friend Tug is a furry beast who will take him on any adventure in exchange for a promise to never eat the mysterious egg Freddie found in the river. But after two weeks of adventures, Freddie asked Tug to grant him something he really wants. When Tug doesn’t do that, Freddie gives into temptation offered by the rat Menson, breaks his promise, and discovers the cost of his action.
In Cottonmouth and the Great Gift, Tug asks Freddie to go on a dangerous mission: he is to deliver the black egg to a girl with different colored eyes. Frederick must deliver it on his own without Tug’s help. But Tug is sending his friend Yellowthroat in his place to help Frederick on his mission. A different sort of adventure awaits!
In Cottonmouth and the End, Frederick continues on his mission and faces his greatest challenge: true darkness. Accompanied by Yellowthroat, Frederick goes through the door into the darkness where he is led. The rat who tempted him to break his promise to Tug earlier is back to tempt him to give into his fear of the darkness, but has Frederick learned his lesson?
Fritz creates an endearing trilogy with the whimsy of Where the Wild Things Are (M. Sendak) and dark-and-light illustrations that rival The Invention of Hugo Cabret (B. Selznick) in their storytelling ability. Each volume is a just over 100 pages with each page a full-page illustration or text on only one-third of the page. They introduce the gospel to children through a highly-imaginative, beautifully illustrated stories that will have them clamoring to read over and over again. Because each volume builds on the previous, the books should be read in order.
Recommended for families, church libraries, and young readers everywhere.
Carol R. Gehringer