Once There Was a Bull . . . (Frog)

Rick Walton, Author, Greg Hally, Illustrator
Rick Walton, Author, Greg Hally, Illustrator Gibbs Smith Publishers $15.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-87905-652-0
Reviewed on: 07/31/1995
Release date: 08/01/1995
Paperback - 32 pages - 978-0-698-11607-8
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-13679-2
Hardcover - 32 pages - 978-1-58685-862-9
Prebound-Glued - 32 pages - 978-0-613-08479-6
Paperback - 36 pages - 978-1-4236-2080-8
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A good idea never quite gets off the ground in this outing, in which compound words are split for comic surprises. On page one, for example, a picture of a spiraling oxtail is captioned, ``Once there was a bull...''; turn the page, and the tail becomes a long pink tongue and the sentence concludes, ``...frog who had lost his hop.'' Bullfrog goes searching for his hop ``under a toad... stool'' and ``in a patch of grass... hoppers,'' but cannot leap until he encounters a ``diamond... back rattlesnake looking for breakfast.'' Walton's most amusing moment may be Bullfrog's statement, ``I'm so hungry I could eat a horse... fly.'' The story is never more than banal, but could easily lend itself to a high-energy, read-aloud. The book's design is as straightforward as its plot; undulating lines of hand-drawn text caption square paintings of Bullfrog's adventures. Debut illustrator Hally layers what look to be multicolored pastels on a grainy surface, forgoing precise detail for a slightly unconventional, impressionistic effect. Ages 4-8. (Oct.)
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