Monday 23 November 2009

Eclectica Book Review

Picture Book Reading for Vacation Days

Review by Colleen Mondor
Eclectica Magazine

Bradley McGogg: The Very Fine Frog is one of those sweet old fashioned stories that features funny animals in odd situations echoing all the good things of Wind in the Willows and Peter Rabbit and every other similar past tale. Author Tim Beiser has written a rhyming text that explains the trials and tribulations of hungry Bradley who goes visiting his friends in search of a decent meal. Illustrator Rachel Berman uses rich color in her realistic paintings of animals at work and play who are dressed in fine clothing (the rabbit wears sneakers, even) and draw the reader into their creative environments. (Bradley sits on a stack of cookbooks. Herr Bear and Herr Hare are shown enjoying a meal of honey and carrots over a complete tea set and later there is a candelabra illuminating a meal of "maggots, mosquitoes, grasshoppers and snails" for our favorite frogs.) The message here is that everyone eats something different and what is good for one will likely be unappetizing for another. Poor Bradley would like to be a mooch but just can't bring himself to eat what everyone else is serving. The story has a happy ending that the rolling text will have lulled readers into expecting. Bradley is a kick in the pants; here's hoping this is not his only adventure.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

National Post article

You know, for kids books: a Q&A with the nominees for the Governor General's Literary Award in Children's Literature, Illustration

The nominees for the Governor General’s Literary Award in Children’s Literature, Illustration, introduce young readers to an eclectic cast of characters, including a hungry frog and a big fat momma, and send them to far-off locales including an island in Nunavut and, er, Newfoundland. Mark Medley spoke with the five artists about their work. ...

Rachel Berman, Bradley McGogg, The Very Fine Frog (text by Tim Beiser)

Q What kind of experience did you have illustrating frogs before this book?

A None.

Q None at all?

A No. And, actually, I used myself as a model. I’m sort of skinny and funny looking, and I didn’t have a frog, so I was leaping all over my studio trying to emulate [a] frog. I could sort of see him as a person, so I decided to use me.

Q He reminded me of Mr. Toad from The Wind in the Willows, but I like your explanation better.

A Oh, well, I’m not going to deny that I was influenced by The Wind in the Willows. I looked at every version of The Wind in the Willows, and also I wanted to do — being serious now — they said it was just going to be a paperback, like most children’s books are. And I thought OK, even if it’s paperback, I’m going to give children credit for some sort of sensibility. I wanted it to be like the books I remember as a child. I wanted to have it as art. I mean that’s what I do: I make art. And I didn’t see any reason why children shouldn’t be given the benefit of the doubt and think that they could appreciate really good art. ...

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Monday 16 November 2009

"Bradley" is a Toy Testing Council Top Pick!

Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog was named by the Canadian Toy Testing Council as one of the top 10 books of the year. According to the Council, "Children enjoy the clever rhymes and the engaging full-colour illustrations in this lively book."

For more information, go to this link:

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Blue Spruce Award Nomination

Bradley McGogg, the Very Fine Frog has been nominated for the Ontario Librarary Association's 2010 Forest of Reading, Blue Spruce Award.

From the Ontario Library Association web site:

The Blue Spruce Award is a provincial primary reading program which brings recently published Canadian children's picture books to Ontario children ages 4 to 7 in kindergarten through to grade two. For many children, this is their first introduction to the world of books; it is a very exciting time for everyone.

The students will peruse ten nominated Canadian picture books and then vote for their favourite book. Based on student voting across the province, the best picture book is then selected and the author/illustrator is honoured with the Blue Spruce Award.