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Publisher: Tricycle Press, a little division of Ten Speed Press, 2003
Material: hard cover
Summary: When Finkelhopper Frog looks out his window and sees everyone jogging, he wants to go outside to join them. Despite his best effort to do everything right, he's just not a good jogger. With the help of a friend, he learns that jogging isn't for everyone. Kids can empathize with Finkelhopper when the neighborhood animals tease him…and also appreciate the moral of the story: we each have our own special talents.
Type of Reading: playtime reading, read aloud book
Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 6 to 9
Interest Level: 4 to 8
Reading Level: 3.1
Age of Child: Started reading a child nearly 3 years old.
Young Reader Reaction: This was an instant hit. It has been nearly a month now, and this is a must read at least once a day. Sometimes it even makes the trip to bed with our toddler.
Adult Reader Reaction: The book hops along quickly, with great rhyming and some near-tongue twisters to keep the pace. We thought this might get tiresome after all these readings, but we continue to enjoy the story as much as our toddler does.
Pros: This is a great book if you have a child who still prefers stories with a rhyming sequence. The story is sweet, and there are some nuances in the illustrations that only a parent can love!
Cons: The animals that tease Finklehopper use both judgmental terms and sarcasm. Although not uncommon--and certainly not untoward--it has introduced some unkind words (like stupid) into our house.
Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is great for helping toddlers and preschoolers with socializing skills. It will likely still come in handy when they start reading for themselves. And the story is simple enough that an early reader can try his hand at independent reading.
Educational Themes: There is plenty to offer with this story: the do's and don'ts of friendship, appropriate ways to treat people who are different, helping people who are trying, empathy, understanding feelings and cataloging words that hurt.
Notes: Winner, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, Best Book Award