Score: 93/100 (9.3 out of 10)
This is a novel that really grew on us the more we read.
Frederick Moody and the Secrets of the Six Summit Lake is a fun little middle-grade adventure novel that follows best friends Fred and Cindy on their quest to find Big Foot.
You heard that correct, they're trying to find THE Big Foot! It doesn't get much more exciting or cool than that!
When Fred and Cindy's friend, Luke, goes missing, a call is put out for hunters and townsfolk alike to find and capture the beast. Some interpret this as a shoot-to-kill mission, putting Fred & Cindy in further peril!
This book is a bit edgy for a children's book and likely fits better as a book for older kids or even adolescents. For one, the word “stupid” is used rather frequently, sometimes even jokingly. Perhaps “silly” or even “dumb” could've worked better in appealing to a larger demographic. Another thing is that Fred & Cindy often do face the threat of violence, although it never escalates too severely. There are no descriptions of particularly nasty gore or death. A dead animal or two are found and mentioned briefly, and characters do gets scrapes and injuries.
With all that said, there's A LOT to love about this book. For one, it really captures a sense of childlike wonder and curiosity. Fred thinks and sounds a lot like us, he wants to find, discover, and explore exciting new things like Big Foot. We all have a bit of an explorer in all of us. In fact, some of us have found ourselves hooked on the topic of cryptozoology, studying creatures like Big Foot and the Loch Ness Monster. This in itself is exciting and intriguing. We want to keep reading to find out what happens next. We want to know if the “Big Foot” sightings are real. The author is quite good at not giving us all the answers at once, teasing us with things like ghillie suits and, apparently, an intervention by Big Foot itself.
However, the thing we loved more than anything else in this book was the relationship between Frederick and Cindy. They have extraordinary chemistry, work well as a team, and are just so cute together. What's a bit captivating about their relationship is that it sometimes ventures from being a friendly relationship to a pseudo-romantic one. Fred and Cindy, perhaps, are undergoing puberty and feelings associated with it, but it's very, very sweet and subtle—exactly how we like it. For example, when Cindy's clothes are drenched in mud and debris, Fred shows concern for her and offers her some of his clothes. In perhaps the cutest scene in the book, Cindy points out that she won't fit his pants because they're too long and not wide enough. She cutely tells him that because of puberty, he got taller while her butt grew larger, so they don't fit each other's clothes. Making this moment even more priceless, Fred is a gentleman and tells her that he didn't think she gained any weight at all. Awwww!
Another moment that subtly hints at some attraction (or at least admiration) is when Cindy pulls up her goggles. Fred notices that she looks special with her hair falling over her face and goggles, comparing her to Amelia Earhart. Another is when Cindy twists her ankle and Fred does everything in his power to help her get to safety.
This is a really solid middle-grade novel.
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