Saturday 21 March 2009

Globe and Mail Book Review

New in children's books

Globe and Mail
March 20, 2009


By Tim Beiser, illustrated by Rachel Berman, Tundra, 24 pages, $19.99, ages 2 to 5

A very fine frog indeed, is Bradley McGogg. Dressed in a pink striped Churchillian boiler suit with a pink-and-white polka-dot tie — a colour combination that nicely sets off the reptilian green of his complexion — Brad extols the virtues of the bog in which he makes his home: "'Oh, beautiful bog,' croaked McGogg./ 'What an Eden!/ You're filled to the gills with/ good frog things to feed on!'" One day, though, viewing himself in the mirror, McGogg declares that he's "needing a feeding. I'm wasting away!" With that, he's off, carried on waves of rhyme to visit Miss Mouse in her nest, Herr Bear and Herr Hare in their shared lair, and a lovely black and white cow in her field.

None of their offerings — cheese ("Cheddar with chives and a/ peppercorn dusting!/ He'd never seen anything/ quite so disgusting"), carrots glazed with honey or the cow's staples of grass and clover — tickle Brad's taste buds.

He returns home to a bog filled with "good frog things to feed on": "stinkbugs and sweet buzzy bees,/ flies, squirmy worms, crunchy roaches and fleas." Our frog McGogg declares, "Holy smokes! Other folks/ eat some pretty strange things."

This delightful excursion is made even more so because Rachel Berman's illustrations, interpretations of the miniature worlds of mouse nests and bear and hare picnics, are nothing short of entrancing.

Reviewed by

At Toronto's Gladstone Hotel

Sat March 21; 10AM (Doors 9:30AM)

Julie Morstad- ABC
Tim Beiser – Bradley McGogg The Very Fine Frog
David Bruins & Hilary Leung – The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear

Hosted by Emily Holton

Ever wish you could read a book and play a game at the same time? Acclaimed artist and author Emily Holton hosts a celebration of three titles that turn reading into a fun game. What better way to learn your ABCs than with a set of stunning flash cards created by celebrated Vancouver artist Julie Morstad? Finding out what animals like to eat becomes a sport in Bradley McGogg The Very Fine Frog, written by Tim Beiser and illustrated by Rachel Berman. And do you like “rock, paper, scissors’? If so, you’re going to adore The Legend Of Ninja, Cowboy, Bear, a delightful variation on the classic game by and Hilary Leung.

– A This is Not a Reading Series For Tots event presented by Pages Books & Magazines, Bunch, Gladstone Hotel and The Little Paper.

Gladstone Hotel Ballroom
1214 Queen St West, Toronto
Sat March 21; 10AM (Doors 9:30AM)
Adults $5 / Tots ride free

Tim Beiser: Pamela Osti,, (416) 598-0247
Emily Holton, David Bruins & Hilary Leung, TINARS For Tots: Chris Reed,, (416) 598-1447 ext 221
Julie Morstad: Jennifer Lynch,, (416) 934-9900 ext 202

Reading List


Bradley McGogg The Very Fine Frog

The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear

Tuesday 10 March 2009

Book Review

Canadian Children's Book News
Winter 2009 issue

Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog
written by Tim Beiser
illustrated by Rachel Berman
Tundra Books, 2009
for preschool to Grade 2

Bradley McGogg is a fun book by Tim Beiser, a first time children's author better known as a magazine journalist. Written at the request of his Grade 1 neice, his story is sure to appeal to six-year-olds who will appreciate the humour and the rhyme. Rhyming stories are notoriously difficult to write, but here the scansion works and the rhyme (both internal and end rhymes) makes the story a delight to read out loud: "This log in a bog, where our frog spent his days/was a pad Brad had had since his pollywog phase." Discovering that his larder is bare, Bradley sets out to ask his neighbours to share what they eat. Though he is offered tasty treats by a mouse, a bear and a hare, he finds them all revolting. And he doesn't even linger to talk to the cow. Sadly he slogs back to his bog, only to discover a wonderful pest infestation! Digging into his wonderfully buggy meal, he muses that "other folks eat some pretty strange things." Children will giggle at the food choices and enjoy the gross-out factor. And teachers could have fun using it in nutrition units and for appreciating differences!

Rachel Berman has worked as a professional artist for over 30 years. A self-educated painter, she enjoys bringing out the character and humour of animals, as she did in Pigmalion (Orca Book Publishers, 2001). Berman's watercolour and gouache illustrations owe a debt to Arnold Lobel's wonderfully lumpy Frog and Toad and to his brown and green pallette. But Berman pops her frog into red-striped overalls that make him the focal point of every illustration. She continues her allusion to earlier children's books with Miss Mouse (à la Beatrix Potter) and a white rabbit in a jacket and waistcoat presiding at a tea party. Her vignettes, with their rounded corners, contribute to the charming old-fashioned quality of the book.

review by Brenda Halliday

Monday 9 March 2009

Ten Questions with Tim Beiser

The web site Open Book: Toronto is featuring an interview with author Tim Beiser about his upcoming book, Bradley McGogg the Very Fine Frog.

Open Book: Toronto celebrates the new and wonderful books, authors and events coming out with Ontario's independent, Canadian-owned publishers. Open Book is committed to showcasing the outstanding range and quality of contemporary Canadian writing and invites Torontonians to connect with their very own vibrant and cutting-edge publishing scene.

To read Open Book's interview with Tim Beiser, CLICK HERE.

Saturday 7 March 2009

Book Launch & Signing

Event date: Saturday, March 7, 2009
Time: Between 2 - 5 p.m.
Place: Ingram Gallery, 49 Avenue Rd, Toronto, Ontario, M5R 2G3, Canada
Phone: 416-929-2220

Rachel Berman will be traveling in to Toronto for the exhibition, book release and signing of Tundra Books' much anticipated new Children's title 'Bradley McGogg The Very Fine Frog' (2009). Accompanying the release, Berman's original watercolours for the book will be available.

In conjunction with Tundra Books, the launch will take place at the gallery the afternoon of March 7th with both Berman and the author, Tim Beiser, present for conversation and signing copies of the new book between 2 and 5pm.

Many friends of the gallery are already quite familiar with Berman's first children's book, 'Pigmalion', and we are very excited about adding a new book to our children's bookshelf at the gallery!