Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The pros and cons of being a frog by Sue deGennaro

There is a subtle little design feature on the front cover of this CBCA Short listed book. If you feel the numbers you will notice number 17 and number 23 are embossed into the cover.  This is because Camille is a numbers girl.  She loves numbers so much she sometimes uses them to communicate.  17 means NO and 23 means YES.  Oddly you wont find 17 or 23 among the jumble of numbers on the end papers.  There is another number shown in this book - 8 but it is not explained.  The reader needs to look closely the context where Camille uses 8 to work it out.  I think 8 might mean a perfect match.

Our unnamed narrator loves to dress up and he loves frogs.  Initially he dresses up as a cat but this leads to difficulties with a local dog.  He tries on other animals suits but it is Camille who finally suggests a frog.  "Frogs are not solitary creatures. I decided I needed a friend.  Camille agreed to help."

This book reminded me of Suzie and Alfred in the night of the paperbag monsters by Helen Craig.  Camille and her friend almost lose each other in the process.  It is up to the narrator to make the peace after he makes a careful list of Pros and Cons....  Here are the cons.

"1.  Not everyone loves wearing a frog costume as much as me.
2.   If you start getting bossy about your frog costume then your friend will get up and leave.
3.   A frog is not a solitary creature so it's no fun for a frog if his friend gets up and leaves."

When we read this book at school we will also look at Henry and Amy right way round and upside down by Stephen Michael King, Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley by Aaron Blabey and A friend like Ed by Karen Wagner.

Here is an excellent review.
This gorgeous book is not only cleverly written, it is an absolute delight for the eyes. Sue deGennaro has a brilliant knack for combining modern yet whimsical illustrations with unusual, artsy undertones and design layout that is just so beautiful, it screams avant-garde without feeling alienating or pretentious.

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