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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Cottonmouth and the River by C. S. Fritz

Release Date - May 2014

C. S. Fritz
David C. Cook

There is no doubt that the illustrations within Cottonmouth and the River are stunning. They definitely do have the feel of Where the Wild Things Are. That is really where the comparison ends. I liked the story of Freddie Cottonmouth, and I understand the author's message. Yet, I took issue with the choice Freddie was practically forced into making. That's where the book's message became lost on me.

Freddie Cottonmouth's parents left him two years ago. They simply went off and never returned. Now 10, Freddie has survived in a house by a river, living completely alone, wondering if his parents will ever return. While at the river, he spots a mysterious egg. This egg brings an unusual creature into his life, one that will give him everything he wants, providing Freddie makes one promise. It's a promise that means Freddie will never have what he wants most, unless he goes back on his word.

Clearly any child who has been left alone to fend for himself for two years is going to long for parents, especially parents who made him happy and who promised him they'd return. As an adult, I realize that for two years, Freddie must have struggled to survive. The book says he never was lucky enough to get bites while fishing in the river, so I'm betting this is a kid forced to eat bugs, small animals, etc. to stay alive, and at the age of 8, 9, and 10, wishing for his parents to return is human nature. I ended up thinking it was silly of the creature to tell Freddie there were some things he could never wish for.

Realistically, I am looking at this story from a parent's point of view, knowing how much a child needs parents. Children will likely overlook that aspect. The illustrations definitely make Cottonmouth and the River a worthwhile purchase, one that I really recommend, even if I did have issues with that one part of the story.

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