Monday, May 11, 2015

REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY: Cottonmouth Series by C.S. Fritz

Adventure, friendship, truth, sacrifice, power, darkness, light ... just a few words to describe themes in these well-written and illustrated books!

I am thrilled to once again join the David C Cook team for a blog tour of THE COTTONMOUTH SERIES BY C.S. FRITZ.  We were asked to review the final book which was just released May 1, 2015, however, I had the opportunity to read the whole series, which is recommended for ages 8-12, but enjoyable for kids and parents!  

The back of the book summarizes the series in such perfect words: "This is a rare children's story that is both bold and tender and brimming with moments of great risk, adventure, and heart .... this story will capture both the imagination and intelligence of children and their parents as it sheds light on the power of sin, sacrifice, and redemption."

Book ONE: Cottonmouth and the River

Join Freddie Cottonmouth on a wild journey with a furry friend Tug and a black egg!  Freddie discovers that "broken promises come at a great price."  One of my favorite quotes comes in the middle of the book when Tug, the comforter, is telling Freddie the story of the Sun brothers (sun and the moon) and what happened when the moon didn't come out one night due to envy.  "The world was empty of light, and blackness filled the land.  People began crying and shouting for the dark Sun (moon) to return.  You see, Freddie, it was then that the Moon realized that even though he didn't get what he wanted, he was exactly what he needed to be.  This similar truth is for you now."

I don't want to share much more because it will spoil the surprise at the end of book one, however we see an example of gut-wrenching sacrifice and friendship.  

Book TWO:  Cottonmouth and the Great Gift 

Join Freddie on a special mission with his new sidekick Yellowthroat.  You will wade through the waters of deception, friendship, and selfishness with Freddie.  Freddie receives a wonderful gift from Tug and it helps him along in his journey, however, selfishness causes us to sacrifice the great gifts we have been given.  We are forced to deal with the consequences of our decisions.    

Book THREE:  Cottonmouth and the End

You will journey with Freddie as he completes his mission, stepping out of our world and into another world.  We will see him face incredible "challenges and conflict."  How will he respond when he "comes face-to-face with true darkness?" 

MY REVIEW:  I really enjoyed reading this books, even though they are geared towards 8-12 year olds.  The adventure component draws you into the book quickly and I found myself finishing one book, excited to begin the next, to see where Freddie would journey next.  I love a good book that I have a hard time putting down!    

I see similar artistic style in these books that I find in Where the Wild Things Are, Chronicles of Narnia, and The Polar Express.  I found myself digging deep into the passages to figure out the hidden spiritual references in the story.  It reminded me of the time I read The Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.  I think that it would be fun to read these together with my kids (when they get a little older) and discuss the spiritual themes.  I know one thing is for sure, that it will generate great conversation!    

Throughout all three books, you see redemptive themes of sacrifice and friendship.  The characters really come to life and you see how one "small" decision can have such an impact on your future!  The final book challenges the reader to confront the problem of true darkness and the only way to escape from it.  

Finally, the illustrations in these books are INCREDIBLE!  C.S. Fritz is very talented!  His illustrations tell part of the story without using any words.  They evoke such emotion and thought.  Very seldom do you find a story where the illustrations add great value to the story like you do in the Cottonmouth series!  

A little bit about the author:  C.S. Fritz, was nominated as Arizona Visual Artist of the Year.  He is now director of Kids and Youth Ministry for Reality LA.  He lives in Hollywood with his wife and two young children.  

To leave you with one of my favorite lines from Book Three ...

" ... suddenly a thunderous shout belonging to the One who could shatter mountains said ... I AM."

GIVEAWAY:  David C Cook publishers are offering a copy of the final book in the series, Cottonmouth and The END to one very special GO LONG GO GREEN reader!  Please leave a comment below with what intrigues you the most about this series!  I will pick the lucky winner MONDAY MAY 18th!

David C Cook SPECIAL GIVEAWAY:  Click HERE to enter to win an original, signed piece of Cottonmouth artwork and a drawn-in copy of Cottonmouth and the End.

FINALLY: Here is an opportunity for you and your children and grandchildren to write a letter to and receive a letter from Freddie Cottonmouth!!!  

Disclaimer: I received this product free of charge. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not monetarily compensated for this review.


Robin Bernfield said...

These books sound like a wonderful time that I can read with all the kids 12-3 and keep each child's interest as well as mine.

ddjohnson1017 said...

Sounds like a great series Kelly and I could enjoy together.

Adam, Jenn, and Isaiah said...

I think Isaiah and I would love the adventure and discussing the spiritual themes.

Erin Powell said...

I'm intrigued by the themes - I think Deacon would fly through this series!