My Fred the Snake books. Why “Snake”, and why “Fred”?

My Fred the Snake books. Why “Snake”, and why “Fred”?

Hopefully a few of my kind readers will know that I have been writing stories for young children about Fred the Snake. The first was a bedtime story for my then small kids about how (not) to cross the road, “When Fred the Snake got Squished and mended”. The rough text laid idle in a drawer until Andy and Nicky had their kids and asked “what happened to Fred-Fred”? They called him that because of the aforementioned squishing, which resulted in a temporary division.

That story ends with

As he fell asleep, I heard Fred say “It’s been a very trying day; tommorrow when I cross the road, I won’t forget my crossing code. And, nor will you, that’s my advice, lest you spell your name like Fred-Fred twice”

Anyway, fast forward to about 2012 when I hung up my scopes (endo- and stetho-) and was looking for something to do when rain prevented golfing. I lucked on a fabulous illustrator named Bonnie Lemaire ( and we are now about to publish our 8th book. Sneakpeak at the cover

This is an overly long intro to the initial question that I posed and which many have asked. Why a snake and why Fred?

It was a very long time ago, but I think I chose a snake because they looked somewhat similar to my medical instruments (flexible endoscopes), a useful prop when telling the kids what I did all day.

Choosing a snake for my hero may have been an error since not all kids are fond of snakes. A koala bear would have got more traction.

And what about the name “Fred”, which is also not very cuddly? I think that may have been because of a popular fun song at that time. Bernard Cribbins sang about Fred and his friends who were trying to get a large piece of furniture upstairs

“Right, ” said Fred, “Both of us together, One each end and steady as we go.”
Tried to shift it, couldn’t even lift it, We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea and

“Right, ” said Fred, “Give a shout for Charlie.” Up comes Charlie from the floor below
After strainin’, heavin’ and complainin’, We was getting nowhere
And so we had a cuppa tea

And Charlie had a think, and he thought we ought to take off all the handles
And the things wot held the candles, But it did no good, well I never thought it would

“All right, ” said Fred, “Have to take the feet off, To get them feet off wouldn’t take a mo”
Took its feet off, even took the seat off, Should have got us somewhere but no!
So Fred said, “Let’s have another cuppa tea”, And we said, “right-o.” etc etc.

Enjoy it on youtube

Check out all the Fred books at

The grandkids seem to like them

Oh, and, signed copies are available right here at

All part of life’s rich tapestry