Follow That Frog!

Philip C. Stead, illus. by Matthew Cordell. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-8234-4426-7
In this collaboration by the creators of Special Delivery, intrepid pilot Sadie turns the spotlight over to her aunt Josephine, a bonneted dowager whose intrepid spirit is undimmed by age. She’s still in bed when a loud knock sounds on the door one morning. “It could be a vacuum salesman,” Aunt Josephine calls from under her quilt. “Or more likely, a suitor. But I tell you this! I am quite satisfied with the state of my carpets. And my days of romance are but a memory.” (Stead excels at this particular brand of palaver.) This reminds her, naturally, of the giant frog that swallowed an admiring admiral’s son when she was “blissfully bivouacked in the jungles of Peru” in her youth. Feeling obliged to catalog the frog—if not to save the boy—she chases it across the world, visiting the Canary Islands (littered with small yellow birds) and the Taj Mahal, accumulating a menagerie of companions along the way. Cordell’s loopy, frenetic drawings savor her journey’s every inanity: sailing a bathtub, riding a whale. The waning British Empire tone of Stead’s story bears a family resemblance to Hoban’s Captain Najork books, and the punch line feels a bit abrupt. Still, any vehicle for Cordell’s sweet-tempered mayhem is a treat. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Jr./Folio Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Rosemary Stimola, Stimola Literary. (Feb.)
Reviewed on : 11/19/2020
Release date: 02/02/2021
Genre: Children's
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