Tuesday, July 21, 2015

By Mouse and Frog by Deborah Freedman

I love Deborah Freedman's art but I have to admit I was skeptical when I started this story. I was sure it was going to turn into one of those "introvert realizes extrovert really cares and they'll be happier if they break out of their routine and be like their friend."

But it isn't at all! I should have trusted Freedman to have a twist up her paintbrush.

Mouse starts out writing and drawing her story but is interrupted by the irrepressible Frog, who adds kings and ice cream and craziness indiscriminately until the story is a huge mess. And Mouse is upset that Frog is not listening to her. After a quiet talk, Frog apologizes and cleans up the mess and lets Mouse tell her story - and Mouse lets Frog help out.

Both Mouse and Frog learn to compromise - Mouse lets Frog help, instead of doing it all by herself, and Frog learns not to take over without listening to her friend. Deborah Freedman's illustrations are, as always, amazing. They're delightfully meta, showing Mouse drawing the story with her pencil, then Frog's crazy antics in a wash of scribbles and colors, then the messy process of erasing. I also love that this captures the "writing" of a story through pictures, gently encouraging the idea of different kinds of storytelling.

Verdict: This is a fun, sweet story that also gently imparts a message about compromise and different personalities working together. It will work equally well in a storytime about friendship and as a springboard for a create-your-own-story project. A definite must for any picture book collection.

ISBN: 97806707849055; Published 2015 by Viking/Penguin; Review copy provided by the publisher; Donated to the library

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