cover image Some Frog!

Some Frog!

Eve Bunting. Harcourt Children's Books, $15 (48pp) ISBN 978-0-15-277082-2

Huckleberry Finn has nothing on Billy when it comes to frog-jumping contests. Enticed by the grand prize of two tickets to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field, Billy plans to catch a whopper of a frog and enter it in the school contest. Best of all, Dad, who no longer lives with Billy and his mom, has promised to come over and help. Billy fights off tears when his unreliable dad just never shows up. But Mom, Grandma and Grandpa make sure Billy has a frog adventure to remember. Bunting's (Smoky Night; Summer Wheels) easy-flowing dialogue and realistic situations give this picture book/chapter book both depth and heart. She leads readers to experience disappointment, excitement and joy right along with Billy as he moves through a particularly emotional day. The story, broken into nine brief chapters, is generously illustrated with Medlock's (Extra Innings: Baseball Poems) slightly impressionistic oil paintings, which feature familiar scenes of home and classroom as well as an arresting sequence showing Billy and Mom's nocturnal trip to the frog pond. The combination of ample art and plentiful dollops of text is just right for early- and beginning readers, especially those who may enjoy an alternative to the many paperback series aimed at them. Ages 6-10. (Sept.)