Beiser, Tim. Bradley McGogg, The Very Fine Frog. Illus. Rachel Berman, Toronto: Tundra, 2008. ISBN 978-0-88776-864-4. Can. $19.99/ U.S. $17.95. Ages 4-9.
Review by Marie Soriano
National Center for the Study of Children's Literature
San Diego State University
Department of English and Comparative Literature
One day frog Bradley McGogg finds there is no food left in his pantry. What is he to do?! He decides to ask his neighbors to share their food with him. He visits the mouse, bear, hare, and cow. But they do not have the tasty food he's expecting! This hilarious story can be used from a number of angles to teach children. Adults could use this book to teach children that people have personal tastes, that people from different cultures eat different foods/dishes, that animals have different diets, or even that we need to be and can be polite when we don't wish to eat the food that someone has graciously offered us. Rachel Berman's illustrations in beautifully detailed watercolor capture frog's personality and bring the anthropomorphic animals to vivid life, bringing back memories of The Wind in the Willows. Frog wears Birkenstocks, Hare wears a redcoat and tails with a checkered waistcoast and Bear wears a yellow and white beanie and vest ensemble. The colors are neutral, toned down like cream, olive green and shades of brown. The illustrations are contained, not all over the page, and the text is above or below the pictures, so this might be a good book for kids who have outgrown simpler picture books.