Written by Jenny Pearson, Illustrated by Rob Biddulph
Published by Usborne

Freddie, Ben and Charlie

by Jenny Pearson

While my book The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates has one name in the title, Freddie would not have got past the nearest bus top if it wasn’t for the help he gets from his two best mates, Ben and Charlie. Here I tell you a little more about all three boys.

Freddie is a fact loving eleven-year-old with a dodgy haircut his Grams gave him. He might not be the coolest kid, but his best mates Ben and Charlie would do anything for him including following him halfway across the country and cycling a tandem up steep hills in lycra superhero outfits. Freddie collects facts because once he has a fact no one can take it away from him. This is important to Freddie, who never knew his mum. He doesn’t want to lose anything else. And this is why it is so hard for him when his Grams dies. Freddie is a good kid, he looks after his stepdad who has one leg in plaster after an accident with his post van. Freddie’s stepdad always points out when Freddie does something which would have made his mum proud and Freddie records all these things in a book he calls The Things I Have Done That Would Have Made My Mum Proud Book. There’s loads of stuff in there – like the time he first tied his own shoelaces or when he was a very convincing cow in the school nativity. Freddie loves his best mates Ben and Charlie, but he can sometimes be a bit wrapped up in his own troubles to properly notice what is going on with them. During his Super Miraculous Journey Freddie learns just how important Ben and Charlie really are to him.

Ben is definitely cooler than Freddie – he always has a mint haircut and is in all the sports teams. He’s a bit of a trickster at school. He shouts sings in every assembly and was responsible for the Diet Coke and Mentos explosion at the end of Year 6 party. Ben gets more pocket money than anybody else on account of his dad winning £500k on a scratch card. But Ben’s not really worried about that. He misses his mum who moved to Spain and is finding it hard to get on with his new step mum, Becky. Despite his cool exterior, and that he sometimes teases Freddie and Charlie, Ben is actually quite sensitive to his friends’ worries. He notices when they are feeling down and is quite good at finding the right things to say to cheer them up. Like telling Freddie a fact about shrimp hearts he found on a yoghurt lid.

Charlie is suffering because he does not want to go on the annual Anderson family detox-holiday. His mum will only cook vegan food which means Charlie has to sneak off to the chicken shop without her knowing. And this summer he plans to sew sweets into his pyjamas, so he doesn’t go hungry at Camp Mung Bean. When Freddie suggests Charlie join him on his trip to Wales, Charlie jumps at the chance. Charlie sometimes worries about being left out by Ben and Freddie – he

wants to be involved in everything – even if the other two are fighting. Threes are always difficult, but Freddie and Ben would never ever leave Charlie behind. They know it wouldn’t be the same without him. And that is certainly true because through his onion eating, unusual clothes drying technique and questionable plumbing skills, Charlie is accidentally responsible for many of the mishaps that occur on their super miraculous journey.

Who is my favourite?

What a question! It is so difficult to choose a favourite – I like all three boys for differing reasons and I love that they are there for each other. Each one is inspired by the brilliant children I have taught over the years. Not one particular child – I wouldn’t say oh Charlie is based on Humbleburt who was in my Year 5 class in 2009 – what I like to do is to take different bits of children I know and smoosh them together to make a new character. It’s not as evil as it sounds.

I suppose, however, if backed into a corner with a cattle prod – I would choose Freddie. Of the three, he’s had the hardest time but remains so positive and hopeful. Also, he was the character I came up with first and that his name is in the title of my debut book makes him just a teeny bit more special.

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