Monday, July 25, 2011
Bradley McGogg, written by Tim Beiser and illustrated by Rachel Berman. Tundra, 2008. $9.99 ages 5 and up
"Brad sat on a stump,
and he pondered and pondered.
He strained his frog brain,
but his mind kind of wandered."
When Bradley McGogg awakens one morning to find his cupboard bare, he must make a decision. After much 'pondering' it comes to him that he should use a visit to his new neighbors' homes to find sustenance for his rampantly ravenous body.
Each of his neighbors welcomes him and offers a fine meal. Miss Mouse has crackers and cheese:
"Cheddar with chives and a
He had never seen anything
quite so disgusting."
Hmmm! Not an auspicious start to his finding food that fattens. On he hikes to Mr. Bear and Mr. Rabbit. Honey coated carrots are not much better. When he notices what Miss Moo is snacking on, he decides to skip that visit and make his way home. Imagine his surprise when he arrives at his log and finds it infested with BUGS!
"But when he got home, Bradley croaked with elation.
His hall was a-crawl with a pest infestation."
It isn't easy to write rhymed couplets and make them work well. To do that while using imaginative language and creating a quirky, emotional protagonist is quite the feat. Tim Beiser does just that. It is evident throughout this most enjoyable tale, nowhere more so than in the following passage:
"Bradley McGogg was
a very fine frog
who happily napped in
a hollowed-out log.
This log in a bog, where our
frog spent his days,
was a pad Brad had had since
his pollywog phase."
Yummy as all get-out and a ton of fun to read.
The illustrations add charm and character, conjuring up earlier times with a wee bespectacled mouse in an apron-covered cottony dress (much as my farm aunts often wore), a vested hare in a tailored coat and a Birkenstock-wearing frog, sporting striped overalls and a splashy tie. The setting is rural, and serene. Bradley is an expressive and courteous visitor despite his aversion to the foods that others choose to eat.