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.

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