By Gavin Davidson
Book by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
Jonathan London follows a long storybook tradition of ascribing anthropomorphic tendencies to wild animals. In this adventure, Froggy gets a new bike and learns to ride. The happy ending is foreshadowed by the title page showing Froggy planting a kiss on his new bike.
I turned to my kids Sophie (8) and Kait (almost 3) for their input on the latest Froggy adventure. I read it to them and asked for their thoughts. Sophie said, "It's good," though her body language suggested she wasn't entirely convinced. However, Sophie has been riding a bike for several years, and recently started reading chapter books on her own. She is not part of the target market for this story.
Kait exclaimed, "I want a pink bike." Her response does not suggest outright acclaim, but she was listening. I think that the author would have been pleased by her reaction. Clearly Kait has a positive association with bicycles and is keen to get one.
After further questioning, the kids offered some additional insight.
Kait admitted to an interest in riding her pink bike. Sophie thought it odd that Froggy wanted both a bell and a horn for his bike - until I reminded her that her own trail-a-bike had, at one stage, no less than three noisemakers attached to the handlebars.
We were all impressed that even after falling off his bike Froggy got back on and tried again. We also liked the fact that the book contained a lot of onomatopoeic phrases.
Kait then threw a sheet over her head and shouted, "BOOOOO! I'm a ghost!" which derailed the discussion entirely.
If you are the parent of a child around 3 to 5 years of age and you are interested in exploring the challenges and joys of choosing a bike and learning to ride (while making lots of silly noises), then this is definitely the book for you.