cover image Hugo and the Bully Frogs

Hugo and the Bully Frogs

Francesca Simon. Sterling Publishing (NY), $14.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-1-86233-093-1

Terrorized by the ""big, bad bullyfrogs"" in his pond, Hugo--""a very small frog with a very small croak""--gets tutored in self-protection by a friendly duck. While he can't shout ""No pushing!"" in his own meek voice, he can make a fierce noise when he imitates her bold quack. So when the bullies close in, ""Hugo opens his mouth and... Quack!""--his persecutors flee. Simon's (Camels Don't Ski) facile tale would be more reassuring if loud quacking were a more workable strategy; instead, it would appear to invite further abuse. Church's (Animal Hospital) boldly outlined bug-eyed fish and worm spectators populate the pond; Hugo resembles the classic weakling in his striped one-piece bathing costume and bandy legs. This slight offering may provide the satisfaction of seeing an underdog vanquish his oppressors, but kids victimized by bullies may be disappointed to see the problem so easily and unconvincingly resolved. Ages 3-7. (Dec.)