BooksForKidsBlog

Friday, April 30, 2021

The Thrill of the Chase! Follow That Frog! by Philip C. Stead

KNOCK! KNOCK!

Dutiful niece Sadie enters her snoring Aunt Jane's chamber, bearing a tray with teapot and cup. The rooster is already on the foot of the bed crowing and the rest of the hens are pecking and grooming and squatting here and there. Aunt Jane protests!

CLOSE THE CURTAINS, SADIE! THAT COULD BE A SUITOR, BUT MY DAYS OF ROMANCE ARE JUST A MEMORY."

But the knocking persists, louder and more insistent, and reminds Aunt Jane of a memory of being bivouacked in the Peruvian jungle, cataloging amphibians for science when a giant frog swallowed the Admiral's quirky son.

"FOLLOW THAT FROG!"

"I DIDN'T CARE MUCH FOR THE ADMIRAL'S SON, BUT IT WAS MY JOB TO CATALOG THAT FROG!"

With devotion and not a little distress, Aunt Jane commandeers a motorcycle and gives chase, switching to tortoise back when the frog takes a bad turn at the Panama Canal. Aunt Jane switches her vehicle of choice to a seagoing bathtub headed for the Canary Islands, where indeed, there were an excess of... canaries, and where Aunt Jane takes the next blue whale going her way!

KNOCK! KNOCK!

Ignoring the increasingly loud noises at the door, Aunt Jane continues to describe the chase, past the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids and the ruins of Rome, and even gay Paree, where she says she and Sadie will one day see

"FOLLOW THAT FROG!" SHE WENT ON.

"ARE YOU SURE YOU DON'T WANT TO GET THAT DOOR, AUNT JANE?" VENTURED SADIE.

"I MAY NEVER, EVER, FIND THAT FROG, SADIE!" SAYS AUNT JANE, RESIGNEDLY.

KNOCK! KNOCK!

But Aunt Jane may see the giant frog sooner than she thinks, in the hilarious new picture book, Follow That Frog!(Holiday House, 2021)

With a jolly, cumulative, and outrageous plot, this new one from the award-winning Philip C. Stead, illustrated in the scratchy fine-line illustrations of Caldecott illustrator Matthew Cordell in the style of Quentin Blake, this story makes a good read-aloud in which kids will be chiming in with ever louder KNOCK! KNOCKS! throughout the charmingly ridiculous story. Says Horn Book's review "Text and art duel with each other to make the antics more and more outlandish, and every page-turn yields an unexpected and wonderfully ridiculous plot development. . . . All the while, someone keeps knocking at the door, where the perfect ending awaits on the other side."

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