Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A Farm Country Halloween October 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 8:18 AM
Halloween book

Gordon Fredrickson's latest picture book.

Gordon Fredrickson

Gordon Fredrickson dresses the part of an old-time farmer when he shares his books and stories during educational programs, at book signings and elsewhere.

WITH HALLOWEEN just days away, the timing is perfect to reveal Minnesota writer Gordon W. Fredrickson’s latest picture book, A Farm Country Halloween, published by Beaver’s Pond Press of Edina.

I’ve become a fan of this Lakeville author, who also penned A Farm Country Christmas Eve and If I Were a Farmer, Nancy’s Adventure.

What so endears me to Fredrickson’s books are his clear love of the country, his strong values, his accurate depictions of farm life and his ability to spin entertaining tales.

In A Farm Country Halloween, readers join the Carlson siblings on a trick-or-treat route through their rural neighborhood in 1950. Based on a real-life event, the youngsters journey from house to house, accepting treats like wax paper wrapped fudge and Cracker Jacks. They are polite and obliging, as most kids were in the 1950s.

But just like kids today, the Carlson youngsters don’t always listen to their parents. That leads to a frightening incident that puts the scary in this Halloween story. I’m not going to spoil the plot for you. Let’s just say that Jimmy, Maggie and Joey learn their lesson and realize that they should have obeyed their parents.

That’s the thing about Fredrickson’s stories. He weaves lessons into the very fabric of his tales.

And by tapping into real-life experiences from the 1950s, he also preserves history, bringing back fond memories for older readers and educating younger readers about the past. The charming illustrations by artist Michaelin Otis are also period accurate.

I reminisced as I read A Farm Country Halloween. I never trick-or-treated in the country, even though I grew up on a farm. But I hit nearly every house in the rural farming community of Vesta, where I bagged popcorn balls and candy bars and suckers. (Just for the record, I disliked those hard, tooth-chipping homemade popcorn balls.)

If only I was 10, I would dress as a gypsy this Halloween, just like I did so many years ago. I would pull a plastic gypsy mask across my face, wrap my mom’s colorful skirt around my skinny (well, not-so-skinny) waist, dangle bracelets upon my wrists and jangle my way through the night.

Such are the memories prompted by A Farm Country Halloween.

For more information about Fredrickson, his books and speaking engagement options, go to www.gordonfredrickson.com.

© Copyright 2009 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photo and book cover image courtesy of Gordon W. Fredrickson