Lots of fabulous books are being published today (such as this one and another one I really like;this one) but Oi Frog! by Kes Gray, illustrated by Jim Field is the one that has jumped up and down and begged to be shared with you right now, without delay. It’s got cheek, energy and zany rhymes, and it’s the first book I’ve read this year which I think is a serious contender for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.
We all know, from the very first books we ever read, that the Cat sits on the mat and the Frog sits on the log. This is part of the overarching World Order that must be in place to stop society descending into chaos.
Oi Frog! is narrated by a rather supercilious Cat, one of the World Order’s Heavies. He knows everyone’s place, and the place for everyone. Mules sit on stools. Parrots sit on carrots. And foxes sit on boxes. That’s just the way it is. End of.
But Frog… well he is brave enough to question authority: He does not want to sit on a log.
And this INFURIATES Cat.
Will Frog survive Cat’s laying down of the law? Well… (sucking my teeth and shaking my head), I would tell you, but I know my place (Zoes sit on Joeys) and I’m not risking Cat’s wrath descending on me. No way.
Jim Field (a past winner of the Roald Dahl Funny prize – so he has form…) has created a cast of enormously characterful animals with some of the most expressive eyeballs and eyebrows in town. Vibrantly coloured pages exude zing and vitality. The anarchy captured in his illustrations (what sort of crazy world is it where puffins sit on muffins or snakes sit on cakes?) contrasts wickedly with Cat’s determination to keep things utterly orderly.
Gray’s text is bold and brassy. Kids will love predicting what’s coming next, and both teachers and learner readers will enjoy the chance to play and delight in language much more than they can by only following the rules of phonics.
A devilishly delightful cautionary tale told with aplomb, illustrated with exuberance, I really do adore Oi Frog!.
And as is always a good sign, within seconds of finishing our first shared reading of Oi Frog! we were raiding our craft supplies inspired. One paper bag, a few pipecleaners, and two pingpong balls later we had our own adorable, if anxious frog:
Look! Look! Do you see what Frog is sitting on?!
While making our frog stand in silly poses, and whilst pretending to be frogs ourselves we hopped around to:
And a couple of songs from dear old Kermit…
Apart from making your own frog toy you could also try these activities alongside reading Oi Frog!:
Who are your favourite fictional frogs? One of my very earliest reading memories is of dear old Flippy the Frog.
Disclosure: I received a free review copy of Oi Frog! from the publishers.