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Sunday, January 15, 2017

the pros and cons of being a frog, written and illustrated by Sue deGennaro. Simon & Schuster, 2016. $23.99 ages 4 and up

"Frogs are not solitary creatures.
I decided I needed a friend.
Camille agreed to help.

At first we worked well together.
Camille did the measuring and
I did the sewing. But putting
together her costume was
taking a little longer than
expected. Camille started
singing her six times tables ... "

Here's a boy who loves to dress up. He begins as a cat. His friend Camille is unlike him in every way. She loves everything mathematical. Still, they like each other very much. In fact, it is Camille who suggests that being a cat is problematic, and perhaps he should consider another animal. After all, he is getting far too much attention.

"Dodie would bark at me
the whole way to school
and the whole way
back home again."

The difficulty comes when choosing that other animal to be. After trying many, Camille suggests a frog. Frogs, it turns out, don't like being alone. Camille is not an easy model when fashioning a new frog costume for her. Stressed by her constant movement, he shouts at her. Camille picks up her stuff and heads for home. Too late, he realizes that being alone is no fun at all.

It gives him pause to think on the 'pros and cons'. It is a thoughtful list and occasions an apology.

"Everywhere I looked,
all I could see were numbers -
but not Camille."

Will he find her, and make amends?

The expressive and entertaining illustrations created in ink, pencil, Conte crayons, and collage add such personality and humor to the pages of this lively book. The thought bubbles, the math symbols and the love for frogs will grab attention and inspire wonder for the story being told. You will be asked to read it often.

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