CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 7. . . .October 15, 2010.
Resa Ostrove. Illustrated by Jason Doll.
Winnipeg, MB: Peanut Butter Press, 2009.
32 pp., pbk., $9.95.
Kindergarten-grade 4 / Ages 5-9.
Review by Claire Perrin.
Young Freddie the frog loves eating flies all day. Unfortunately, he has a lesson to learn about overeating. Freddie’s “problem” is a huge gas bubble in his stomach that prevents him from hopping, swimming or doing any of his regular activities.
He had always been such a sensible tadpole, never eating too much algae or too many plants. But now that Freddie was a frog, he couldn’t wait to eat flies. He ate them for breakfast lunch, and supper. He snacked on them whenever he could. He absolutely loved those yummy, yummy flies!
Freddie discovered that eating 100 of them was a foolish thing to do.
“Ooo,” moaned poor Freddie. “I feel dreadful!”
Alone and distressed, Freddie needs to get help for his problem. He enlists the help of his friends: a fish, a duck, a snake and an owl. Each friend tries to solve the problem in a different way, but none of the suggestions are helpful. For example, Synjin the snake says that he slithers on the hard ground to push the gas bubbles out. Dirwood the duck’s solution is well intended but not suitable either. Finally, Oliver the owl finds a solution which leads to copious belching from Freddie. At last, the gas bubbles are gone, but Freddie once again feels hungry.
Will Freddie make the same mistake again, or will he learn from his previous choices? Ostrove leaves the ending up to the reader to decide. The final illustration shows 100 flies flying around Freddie and ends with an incomplete sentence. Readers will be able to discuss possible outcomes although no one will know for sure what Freddie will decide.
Themes of friendship, growing up, and making good choices are all important in this book. Ostrove handles the themes with humour, making it a great jumping off point for more serious discussions. Doll, a cartoon animator, illustrates with humour and just enough detail for young children to be able to tell the story by reading just the illustrations. The repetition in the story will help young readers follow the storyline.
Claire Perrin is a full-time teacher-librarian with the Toronto District School Board.
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