The pros and cons of being a frog by Sue deGennaro

cover image

Scholastic, 2012. ISBN 9781 74283 065 6.
(Ages 6+) Recommended. Picture book. Friendship. Best friend, Camille suggests that the animals the boy is trying to be will always be problematic and so suggests being a frog. Camille, besotted with maths, only talks in numbers, so working out what she is saying, means that the code has to be understood. 23 is a good number, showing she is pleased and means yes, so 23 shows that she is happy to be a frog as well. But when the boy measures her for her costume, listening to her recite the 6 times tables, she wriggles so incessantly the boy shouts at her to stop. With a 17, meaning no, she is off. So the boy sits down to work out what went wrong with his friendship, and sets out to find Camille, by following the numbers in the street.
This is a charming story of friendship, of falling out and coming back together again, of finding common ground even when the two are quite different, of making compromises so the friendship endures. Delightfully told, the illustrations are amazing, with numbers littering almost every page, many with a purpose. DeGennaro used a variety of techniques including collage, conte, pencil an ink to produce a range of illustrations reflecting the two friends and their interests. I found each page drew me in to look further at the little things in the background, the small objects, the toys, the books, the pictures on the wall, each is fascinating and absorbing and will further intrigue the reader.
Fran Knight