Tuesday, November 11, 2008

BEWARE OF THE FROG by william bee - review

BEWARE OF THE FROG by william bee
This is one for motherreader's Weird Ass Picture Book category. I read it with my seven-year-old, and he LOVED it. But my husband overheard us, and after the kid scampered away chuckling, he said, "That's... that's awfully DARK, wouldn't you say?"

Heh heh heh... yeah man. The surprise ending in this one is kicky, and funny, and brilliantly colored (green! pink! yellow like no yellow on this earth!), AND dark.

William Bee's illustrations are scratchy, detailed, full of great little patterns and ornaments, and remind me of jazzy pen-and-ink illustrations from when I was a kid (call that early '70's). They almost look like they'd make a great hipster t-shirt. Or a Target product line. Or wallpaper in the powder room in the basement of a swinger's suburban ranch house. And there's a little South Park to the faces. Are you having a hard time collating this description in your head? Ha. Read the book. See if you can do better.

Here is a synopsis - maybe that will help: a little old lady (Mrs. Collywobbles) lives on the edge of the ghetto (ok, the deep dark woods) protected only by her little pet frog. Big monsters come out of the forest one by one to steal from, stink at, or eat Mrs. Collywobbles. They see the sign, "BEWARE OF THE FROG" and scoff. And then the little frog eats them.


And then there's a surprise ending, which, ok, I know it's a picture book, and usually I have no scruples about spoilers for picture books, but it's a real treat to read a picture book that you can't anticipate, and I wish you that treat.


Jennifer said...

Oh, yeah, total surprise ending. I had to go back and reread the book several times to "get" it.

Scope Notes said...

This book is indeed crazy. It fully embraces the unexpected darkly funny ending. Thanks for the review.

rathacat said...

Sounds like fun. My stepson tells me that frongs will eat anything that they can cram into their mouths. And some big frogs have some pretty big mouths.