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Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good ... More

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Author: Timothy Basil Ering

Illustrator: Timothy Basil Ering

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Publisher: Candlewick Press,

Material: hard cover

Summary: Cementland is filled with treasures: smelly socks, broken TVs, wire. You name it. One day, though, as a young boy was searching through the piles of junk, he found a box. The note on the box instructed the boy to put its contents into the earth. So he did. The next day the treasure was gone, so he made a security guard from the junk. Frog Belly Rat Bone had the job of protecting that treasure and scaring off anyone (or anything) that might try to steal it. But what could the treasure be? And just how much patience is required. This is a picture book that reminds us about the beauty around us (not to mention recycling, too).

Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, playtime reading, read aloud book, independent reading

Recommended Age: read together: 4 to 8; read yourself: 7 to 9

Interest Level: 4 ot 9

Reading Level: 3.6

Age of Child: Read with an 8-year-old girl.

Young Reader Reaction: "Frog Belly Rat Bone One-two-three!" It didn't take long before my daughter caught on and started reading Frog Belly's parts herself. She loved the book, though she found the illustrations hard to discern sometimes.

Adult Reader Reaction: It's been a while since I've read a picture book where I loved changing my voice. This one begs you to do it! The message about being environmentally concious is there, but is a soft undertone to the friendship the boy creates with Frog Belly and the community of animals.

Pros: A cute monster hero, clever combinations of drawings and illustrations, and lots of dialogue make this a fun story to read together.

Cons: The dark illustrations at the beginning may make you think this is a dark (meaning heavy) book. It's not. There is nothing scary or ominous about it.

Borrow or Buy: Buy. This is a clever, unique story and one that you'll love to share with the kids for many years. It has a "Three Little Pigs" sense about it.


Educational Themes: There are distinct themes of conservation and littering, but you can also talk about friendship, imagination, stealing, forgiveness, and community. You might even build your own Frog Belly Rat Bone.

Notes: The publisher donated a copy of this book knowing that we would consider it for review and provide an independent, unbiased profile. This book will be given to a nonprofit to help readers in need.

Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, fantasy, adventure, ecology

Date(s) Reviewed: August 2010

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