Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ribbit by Rodrigo Folgueira, illustrated by Poly Bernatene

There was a fairly large marketing push for this book and I received a review copy, so I will join the masses and add my opinion.

One day, a little pink pig shows up on a rock in the frogs' pond. To their bewildered dismay, all he says is "Ribbit!" Other animals join the discussion and soon arguments and fights are breaking out. With a little help from a wise beetle, the animals realize that all the little pig wants is some new friends and they all join together in the trees at the end with a chorus of tweets.

The art has a soft but textured look. You can see recycled words and images in the background of the pictures. There are little details if you look close enough - silly faces on the frogs, a wink from the pig and bristling feathers on the parrot.

It's a fun story and the repeated refrain of "Ribbit" adds an interactive dimension, but I don't think it's as amazing as most of the reviews seem to think it is. By which I mean - it's a cute story to read aloud, but I don't see any four year olds going away and thinking "hey, I shouldn't make assumptions about new/different people." Most of them don't even really get the point - they just see a pig making frog sounds and think "funny!" Or, in the case of the class of four year olds I tried this out on, "Awkward!" Which just goes to show why I shouldn't read press releases, because even if I like the book, I generally don't agree with the marketing.

Verdict: It's fun! It's cute! The pig says "Ribbit!" You can tell your educationally-conscious parents that it teaches vital social skills (even if you don't think it does). It is a little long for a storytime for under 4, but the kids at 4k I read it to liked it well enough that I am adding it to my annual frog outreach storytimes. I recommend buying it and enjoying the funny, cute story.

ISBN: 9780307981462; Published April 2013 by Random House; Review copy provided by the publisher

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