cover image Leap Back Home to Me

Leap Back Home to Me

Lauren Thompson, illus. by Matthew Cordell, S&S/McElderry, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-0664-3

Sweet and simple, lively and expressive, this picture book provides a loving template for parents who want to encourage their children to explore an ever-widening world without losing their connection to home and family. A wise mother frog encourages her child to leap away in baby steps—"Leap frog over the ladybug./ Leap frog over the bee./ Leap frog over the tickly clover,/ then leap back home to me!" Cordell's (Trouble Gum) marvelous pen and ink with watercolor illustrations showcase the small frog's increasing confidence and joy in its independence (at one point, it rockets directly toward readers with a "wheeeee!"), while its mother patiently provides crayons, food, books, and love to welcome it back home. The mother's refrain ("then leap back home to me!") changes at the end, after the frog has leapt over mountains and even into outer space ("Leap frog as high as you please.... when you leap home, here I'll be"). Thompson (the Little Quack series) offers unconditional reassurance that, even as children leapfrog into their adult lives, nothing will sever a parent's love. Ages 2–6. (Apr.)