cover image The Ballad of Tubs Marshfield

The Ballad of Tubs Marshfield

Cara Hoffman. HarperCollins, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-06-286547-2

Life is “a song” for Tubs, a musician frog who lives in a Louisiana swamp where he and his community of animals have always had all they’ve needed. But then things change. Fish, a crucial food source, begin to disappear, and many animals start coming down with the same ailment. Pythia, an alligator witch, tells Tubs that by traveling to the city and sharing his songs, he can save the swamp. So Tubs leaves his beloved home while Lila, his doctor cousin, stays to investigate whether the water is to blame for the illness. When Tubs has a change of heart and heads back home, he discovers a pipe pumping pollution into his swamp as well as the factory responsible for it. The animals must collaborate and use their strengths, including Tubs’s songwriting skills, to save their home. Hoffman (Bernard Pepperlin) brings the rich beauty of the ancient swamp to life with vivid descriptions of its scents, sights, and sounds, making it clear why the animals must save it. While Hoffman shines a sharp light on humans’ damaging impact on nature, the story also shows the inspiring power of setting aside differences and working together to make change. Ages 8–12. (Nov.)