Recently, I was given the opportunity to read C.S. Fritz’ newest release: Cottonmouth and the End. It is the third book of the Cottonmouth Trilogy. I must say this book and the trilogy as a whole are fabulous! This is the new Narnia for a younger generation! If you’re a parent of a kid who loves to read, this set needs to be your next purchase. If you’re a parent of a kid who doesn't like to read, this trilogy might be a springboard to change their thoughts about reading. Never again will your children say, “Reading is boring.” Below, I present an overview of each book's storyline.
Cover price is $7.99 per book. Each book is packed with beautiful artwork which guide the reader through each storyline. I finished each book in about ten minutes, children will probably take 20-25 if they read straight through. The connections to God are unmistakable. The challenge to see Freddie’s life fit into God’s story bring the point home: our own lives fit into God’s story too!
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Did you know you can be pen pals with Freddie?
Write a letter to Freddie and he will write one back to you!
INDIVIDUAL BOOK REVIEWS:
Cottonmouth and the River (Book One):
We are introduced to Frederick Cottonmouth at the river near his home. It is a place of solace and reflection for young Freddie, who comes to visit the shoreline every day. One day in particular, Freddie finds a smooth, polished, black egg. As he is a curious boy, Freddie takes it home with him to examine it more. As he returns home, we realize that young Freddie’s parents are not there and haven’t been for quite some time. Freddie is enamored by the egg; its shape, its meaning. As he drifts off to sleep, unable to find anything conclusive about the egg, Freddie hears movement and a loud “CRACK” in the upstairs of his house. The black egg from the River seems to be at the center of this as Freddie notices it spinning around and around. Suddenly, a creature appears. He is large and boisterous. Freddie has never seen or heard anything like it before Freddie’s fear is soon replaced by the creature’s voice: “Hi. I’m Tug, the comforter.” Freddie’s world is turned upside down as Tug becomes his closest companion. Tug gives Fredrick a command: you must never eat this egg. Fredrick agrees and suddenly, the life he has always wished for is in his possession as Tug leads the most amazing adventures and experiences for the two of them. At the end of two weeks, Fredrick asks Tug if the black egg can bring his parents back. Tug tells him a story, meant to assure Fredrick that there is a purpose behind his parents’ absence. Fredrick is hurt and runs away from Tug, throwing the egg deep into the river as he runs home. A rodent, named Menson, rings the doorbell of the Cottonmouth home. He speaks with Fredrick and tells him that what Tug has told him is a lie. Menson convinces Fredrick that he can take him to his parents if Fredrick will only follow his directions. Fredrick makes a terrible mistake that rips apart his bond with Tug and at the same time makes Fredrick deathly ill. Tug doesn’t allow Fredrick’s mistake to keep them separated forever, though. And Tug makes one of the greatest sacrifices of all while Freddie watches on. Alone once again, Fredrick returns home; only to hear a loud “CRACK” from upstairs again! Who could it be this time?
Freddie, believing that Tug is truly gone decides to return to the River and go fishing. As he retrieves his pole and lure, Freddie is confronted with the movement upstairs. Unexpectedly, Tug returns! He leads Freddie to the river and gives him a new black egg and a special mission: “You must get this egg to the girl with two different colored eyes. She is in The Great Blue.” Freddie doesn’t understand and asks how he is supposed to find this girl with two different colored eyes. Tug promises that he will send Freddie a helper. Freddie is confused and wants Tug to stay. Tug blows into his hands and suddenly, he is gone. Everything goes dark and it feels as if Freddie is sleeping. He is awoken to the sound of his name being called. There appears a yellow hummingbird who introduces himself as “Yellowthroat, the Gift”. Yellowthroat leads Freddie on an adventure down the river that Freddie used to visit every day. They stop so Freddie can stretch his legs and run into a troll who leads them to a forest full of bookcases. There, Gloom and his octopus, Matilda, have been expecting Freddie and present him with his book. Inside the book, Freddie finds a letter from Tug and everything about his whole life written in ink, right down to his mission and even the current moment itself! Freddie and Yellowthroat continue on their journey; Freddie feeling a little more confident because Tug has known his story all along. As the approach what they believe to be the entrance to The Great Blue, they run into a chimpanzee named Secret who only answers questions depending on how well he is paid. They are forced to give Secret Freddie’s book written by Tug for the answer they desperately need. Secret points down to answer the question, “where is the entrance?” Freddie begins to dig. And dig. And dig. For days he digs. He is ready to give up until a fluttering page of his book appears with a reviving message. Freddie musters up energy to dig just a little more. He finds a door with an egg-shaped handle but before Freddie can turn the knob, the knob starts turning from the other side! What could be behind this door?
Cottonmouth and the End (Book Three):Behind the door found by Freddie and Yellowthroat was the Darkness. It had been waiting for Freddie ever since Tug made the greatest sacrifice of all time. The darkness tells Freddie that his parents are there, waiting for him. Yellowthroat, sensing something not right, admonishes Freddie to follow him instead of the Darkness. Still, the promise of seeing his parents is too much for Fredrick to contain and instead he devises a way to separate himself from Yellowthroat’s advice. Yellowthroat leaves Fredrick’s side, Fredrick is alone but now realizes his mistake. Yellowthroat is shut out of the Darkness permanently. Suddenly, in the Darkness, is Menson, the rat. Menson has been planning for months because Fredrick’s mission has been damaging Menson’s mission. Menson has since wanted Fredrick eliminated. He ties Fredrick up tight, reminding Fredrick of all the things he’s done wrong. Fredrick, finding courage deep inside of him, yells at Menson that he is unafraid of him. Fredrick and Menson both hear a loud “CRACK”. Menson wonders who is there and suddenly, an even louder voice overpowers both of them. Tug has returned and defeats Menson and giving grace to Fredrick who struggles with the consequences of all he has done. Tug brings Fredrick to his palace seated on the banks of The Great Blue. There, Fredrick meets the girl with the two different colored eyes, Pox. Together, they are given a new mission from Tug and a treasure chest full of smooth, polished, black eggs. What will they do with them all?