Book Awards and Reviews

AWARDS

When Fred the Snake goes to School

A 5 Star award December 2016

Reviewed by Michelle Stanley for Readers’ Favorite https://readersfavorite.com

When Fred the Snake Goes to School is a children’s animal story by Peter B. Cotton. Fred the Snake was given to James by Jungle Jim. He recently recovered from being squished in the head and was called Fred-Fred, but not anymore. James had fun playing with Fred during the summer holidays. He gets permission from the teacher to take his pet to school with him. The teacher really did not want a snake slithering around the classroom, but she had already allowed other kids to bring their pet mice, birds, and rabbits to class, so she could not deny James his request. Fred learned the alphabet and played games with the kids at lunchtime. He was so helpful and fun to be around that he was rewarded for being so cool. Now James wishes they could visit Jungle Jim and Fred’s family that he left behind.

When Fred the Snake Goes to School is such a delightful storybook for young children. Peter B. Cotton’s novella is written as a story in a poem format with rhymes that are well structured and amusing. It was originally created for the author’s children and is now read to his grandkids. The book cover is nice, but the illustrations inside are even lovelier, brightly coloured, and show the characters engaged in each activity. Fred is an adorable snake who charmed the teacher, and James is a caring pet owner. This is a great novella that teachers will enjoy reading to their students, and parents will like it too.

When Fred the Snake Got Squished and Mended
Peter B. Cotton, author, Bonnie Lemaire, illustrator
Ingram Spark, publisher, Ingram, distributor.

Children’s Bookwatch: May 2015 Midwest Book Review

An award-winning children’s book series in stunning verse, “When Fred the Snake Got Squished and Mended” (otherwise popularly known as “Fred-Fred”) is a beloved, original tale of a charming, adventurous, jungle snake pet who lacked crossing traffic skills. This amusing story is wonderfully written in rhyming narrative verse, full of British style, wit and charm. It is also beautifully illustrated with wild, lively, colorful caricature illustrations, which present Fred and friends as a very personable, appealing snake. Most wonderful of all are the brave rescue and repair team who dare to tackle sewing Fred-Fred back together, a daunting task that requires special jungle thread which “comes only from the leaf of a certain bush which grows beneath large rhinos. But, who will dare disturb that wild beast in his lair?” Fortunately, Jungle Jim is up for the challenge and an amazing if unlikely adventure continues to a happy healing ending for Fred-Fred. Kids of all ages will enjoy this delightful story and entire series, originally written by an English physician for the enjoyment of his children and grandchildren. Move over for “Fred-Fred,” Lewis Carroll! Other fun Fred titles include: “When Jungle Jim Came to Visit Fred the Snake,” and “When Fred the Snake Goes to School.

Winner best rhythmic book for Best Childrens Books for StorytimeJam September 2013

Dr. Cotton has a wonderful way of using language and rhythm to tell a story. Some of the older children were able to use prediction skills in anticipating what words would be used at the end of a rhythmic sequence. Many early readers were also able to pick up the book and de-code the words based upon the rhythm and rhymes, which is why the book was so popular when it was being read out loud. We loved that our older readers in the focus group asked to look at the book on their own at the end of the reading. Younger children were afraid at first that the main character was a snake. But Dr. Cotton created a lovable snake and the illustrations depicted were non-threatening. Hence, it was decided that the snake was not at all scary and could be a friend or pet. We asked the kids to make a snake sound “ssssssss” whenever they heard the name Fred. The kids loved the interactive participation. They got to use the sound at least 100 times. The children did ask, “What is the name of the boy in the illustrations?” There was a discussion that the author wrote the story many years ago for his children. The children then wondered if the boy in the picture was the author’s son or the author himself. The children giggled and laughed at the trials and tribulations Fred faced during the story. One child spoke of a memory of a car accident and compared his treatment with how Fred was treated. They also spoke of x-rays and many children discussed their own experience with getting an x-ray.
The children loved the character of Jim and admired his bravery with the rhino. It was interesting that they felt the seagull was the main hero for flying the thread to Fred.
All and all, this is a fun book to read out loud, especially when a reader can act out the narration.

Moonbeam Children Book Awards. 2104 Bronze medal – Best Book Series – Picture Book

REVIEWS

Tunnel Book Review by Colin Howden, Editor, GI and Hepatology News, June 2012

I first met the author of this enjoyable text in Columbia, South Carolina. We were both attending a meeting of that state’s medical board in order to obtain our full licenses to practice.

Readers of Dr. Cotton’s book will learn that his surgical colleagues in London had presented him with a plaque upon his move to the U.S., which read “This is to certify that Dr.P.B. Cotton has no qualifications.” Clearly, that was not a true statement judging by the large box of framed diplomas and other testimonials that he was able to present to the distinguished board members for their thoughtful consideration.

Dr. Peter B. Cotton is, of course, well known to most readers of this newspaper – by reputation if not through personal association. He has been a leading figure in the development and refinement of gastrointestinal endoscopic practice for most of his career.

The list of trainees who have benefited from his mentorship and support is impressive; many are named and featured in this book. They are now in prominent academic positions throughout North America and beyond. Judging by Dr. Cotton’s anecdotes, they were expected to work hard and play hard – and all clearly enjoyed and gained from the experience.

Dr. Cotton went to medical school and did his postgraduate medical training in the U.K. and moved to the U.S. in 1986. Given that he has a “foot in both camps,” he is able to make interesting and provocative observations about these two different cultures of health care and medical education.

His career in the U.S. encompassed Duke University and the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) – two recognized centers of excellence in the management of gastrointestinal disorders. At MUSC, Dr. Cotton established the Digestive Disease Center, and he has strong opinions and useful advice about this integrated model for the delivery of care to our patients. Readers will find his views on current and potential training systems to be refreshing and certainly worth careful consideration.

This book is not – and was never intended to be – a formal textbook of endoscopy. Instead, it is a thoughtful overview of the development and flourishing of gastrointestinal endoscopy from the personal perspective of one of its pioneers. The history is interesting and the personalities involved are treated with respect and gratitude. The anecdotes are amusing and (mostly) kind.

Tunnel Book Review by Richard Kozarek of the World Gastroenterology Organization for GastroIntestinal Endoscopy, September 2012
Although I have written Forewords and reviewed numerous medical texts for journals in my professional career, it has been more than 50 years since I have done a book report. It is my great pleasure to do just that: a book report on Peter Cotton’s The Tunnel at the End of the Light: My Endoscopic Journey in Six Decades. Remember, a book report revolves around 7 facets of a story: character, plot, setting, theme, point of view, style, and tone.

So here, in no particular order, is my report. The point of view is uniquely first person, although there are enough anecdotes from such luminaries as Tony Axon, Rob Hawes, John Cunningham, and Lars Aabakken to make you realize that this is not an endoscopic Everyman’s journey and that Peter and his colleagues and trainees were living in the ether and creating, not simply living in, the endoscopic practice of the day. Theme? The theme (evolution of endoscopy)—from the gastrocamera in the 1960s to Dr. Cotton’s first endoscopic sphincterotomy in the mid-1970s. Those of you who believe in infallibility will be reassured when you read that his first sphincterotomy was associated with a “zipper phenomenon,” and his third patient went to surgery with a stone basket impacted in the biliary tree. The text includes subsequent endoscopic developments, particularly in ERCP, and concludes with 3 predictions: that endoscopes, if not endoscopists, will become increasingly intelligent; that procedures will increasingly be done by nonphysicians; and, finally, that “none of my predictions will come true … and that some other paradigm shift will deflect our profession in other unexpected directions.”

The style and tone of the book are matter-of-fact, light-hearted, but reflectional, and much of this reflection is based on Peter’s last ERCP performed on Friday, May 13, 2011, as well as having achieved “his biblical span.” Fortunately, the latter is not yet true, and Peter Cotton and his trainees remain a dominant force in endoscopic practice throughout the world today. Joseph Leung, Rob Hawes, John Baillie, and Tony Speer are only a few of his trainees from the Middlesex, as was Todd Baron at Duke and Paul Tarnasky at MUSC, which brings me to setting, which not only encompasses the time in London, Duke, and MUSC, but his own worldwide forays, including the world’s first live endoscopy course. Hong Kong? Repeatedly. India? Gastroenteritis (his lament) notwithstanding. Europe? As a contemporary of Demling, Classen, and Cremer. Iran to treat a Shah. Malaysia to forego endoscopy but still go pig hunting with a prince. Saudi Arabia to remove a stone from a king.

The plot is simple: the evolution of endoscopy at a time when diagnostic radiology and surgical therapy reigned supreme. The story is comprehensive, but is not complete. It evolves from a diagnostic specialty to one that has allowed us to treat bleeding, resect or ablate potentially malignant tissue, dilate luminal obstructions, and treat a variety of pancreaticobiliary diseases. It may evolve further into deeper forays into interventional practice “surgical trajectory”), and Peter gives credit to his surgical colleagues throughout his career. He also reinforces a concept that I heartily support: multidisciplinary care for patients with digestive disorders.

What great fun to read this book. I have known Peter for almost 4 decades—“subscribing” to his multiple editions of Practical Gastrointestinal Endoscopy with Christopher Williams and Annual of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, edited with Guido Tytgat. However, it is the scope and geography in this book that makes it most readable. After all, having Nagi Reddy as your “endoscopic grandson” and John Cunningham describe the unfathomable game of cricket helps put the last half-century of our endoscopic revolution into perspective, a perspective with a harmonizing face.
I recommend this book to the readership of GI & HEPATOLOGY NEWS. Importantly, all proceeds from sales go towards the “Peter Cotton Endoscopy Training Fund” at MUSC to support advanced training in therapeutic endoscopy.

Tunnel Book review by Peter Down BSG Archivist, for GUT, May 2012
Ask anyone attempting endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in the 1970s and you will be regaled with stories about Peter Cotton’s master classes at the Middlesex Hospital. He had brought ERCP to Britain after spending 2 weeks with Kazuei Ogoshi in Japan in 1971. His skill was legendary and people flocked to his unit to watch him. As his reputation grew he travelled widely lecturing and demonstrating, and was called to treat royalty and celebrities all over the world. In 1986, to the dismay of many, he moved to the Duke University, North Carolina, and later to Charleston, South Carolina, where in 2011 on the fortieth anniversary of his first ERCP he finally hung up his duodenoscope. This book is a delightful and humorous account of his adventures here and abroad. We hear of digestive challenges, strange hotels, hilarious misunderstandings, the importance of golf and especially the people and friends he made everywhere he went.

It takes more than mere technical skill to introduce a new technique and Peter with his commanding presence, hard work and great sense of fun made things happen. Yet, despite his success and fascinating career he is disarmingly modest and this is reflected in his autobiography. One of the most moving chapters relives his experience on his flight home to the States on 11 September 2001 when his plane was diverted to Newfoundland.

The book will be thoroughly enjoyed by those who know Peter Cotton and will intrigue those who do not. He was the son of a general practitioner and was expected to join the practice after qualifying at St Thomas’s Hospital. Fortunately for us he did not and was struggling with some basic research into small bowel metabolism when the first fully flexible endoscope arrived. He was good with his hands and took to the instrument like a ferret to a trouser pocket. Inevitably, endoscopy was self-taught at first and Cotton realized the dangers of this not just for the patient but for the reputation of the technique. He fought hard to get formal training and accreditation in endoscopy and played a pivotal role in the short but exciting life of the British Society for Digestive Endoscopy in the 1970s. Those who were lucky enough to be his trainees became friends for life and enjoyed highly successful careers in all corners of the world.

An endearing feature of Peter Cotton is his fund of stories and anecdotes. One of the best concerns a ‘seriously royal gall stone’ and there are no marks for guessing who it belonged to. Another amusing chapter recalls the ‘Perils of the Podium’. And did you know that a cause of dysphagia in Iran is leeches in the oesophagus? Now, we can share these tales in his entertaining and splendidly illustrated biography. I can recommend it unreservedly.

Five Star Reviews for Fred the Snake Books!

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By Minda Terrific story for children. I have given this book to children and grandchildren of friends, and all have enjoyed the adventures and misadventures of Fred. I look forward to the next Fred the Snake book.

By T. Bowden Format: Hardcover I really enjoyed reading this curious story of an adventurous snake and the little boy who becomes his owner and shares the trials and tribulations of Fred Fred’s “split” personality! We read the story often to our children and they get a kick out of their literary trip to the hospital as they share in the healing of a lovable snake named Fred Fred.

By Nicky Richardson Format: Hardcover. A wonderful rhyming story about a pet snake that gets run over. Full of fun with colourful illustrations, it has appealed to my 2 year old up to her 9 year old cousin. There’s also a clear message about looking out for traffic when crossing the road. An ideal stocking filler.

By Jodi Baker Format: Hardcover. This was a fun book to read! This book would be a great book to introduce the topic of getting hurt and how to get “fixed” to kids!