cover image EXCUSE ME!


Lisa Kopelke, . . S&S, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-689-85111-7

Frog adores cricket tacos and worm burgers, and he doesn't mind that they give him gas. He espouses a philosophy that will score points with the gross-out crowd: " 'Enthusiastic burping,' thought Frog, 'not only feels good, but also makes room for dessert!' " After his fellow amphibians take offense and expel him from their town, Frog moves to a place where everyone burps with impunity. Yet "his new friends… never stopped burping, and they never said excuse me. Frog became disgusted." He sneaks back home, where he learns to exercise restraint and ask for pardon when a croak slips out. Debut author/artist Kopelke renders the queasy sequence in bilious pine greens and mucky orange-browns, and details every spread with buzzing flies and squiggly nightcrawlers. She gives Frog the lumpy silhouette of an overfull trash bag, with heavy-lidded eyes suggesting a decadent contentment. His burps are transparent gray clouds. Onomatopoeic belches, printed in oversize type ("Buhrrraaap!"), encourage participation. Purportedly about good manners, this story likely will open the floodgates to rude noises, giggles and a chorus of "excuse me's." Ages 4-8. (Mar.)