Prather’s Pick: ‘Bertha and the Frog Choir’ engaging picture book for children | CraigDailyPress.com

Prather’s Pick: ‘Bertha and the Frog Choir’ engaging picture book for children

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

Whenever I review a children's book, I can't help but think of the children's literature classes I taught at Colorado Northwestern Community College. My students and I met one or more times per week at the Craig Library so the students could find the type of book covered that week. Students gathered armloads of books, we discussed them and the students kept cards in a file with information about some of the books. Some teachers-to-be included notes about how they might use the books in classes one day.

When I hear about Moffat County's budget constraints, I wonder what that means for the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries. Children's literature class is only one example of a way the library is used by people of all ages. Please. support our library.

"Bertha and the Frog Choir is this week's featured picture book. It was written by Luc Foccroulle, a children's author and illustrator from France. The book was illustrated by Annick Masson and is published by NorthSouth (2012). The illustrations are gorgeous.

As the book begins, the narrator reminds the reader that being a frog isn't easy. After all, while some animals (such as a fox, swan and butterfly) are beautiful, the frog is "quite flabby and slimy." (The frogs pictured in the illustration are taken aback by the narrator's words.)

However, the narrator says there is something positive about frogs. That's their chorus.

The frog choir — 27 of them, in fact — sit on a very large lily pad. They're holding sheet music and singing away.

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"Ribby, ribby, roo, ribbbbribbit."

Every frog dreams about being part of the choir, so that's why Amadeus, the choir director, holds auditions. This particular day, there's a long line of frogs waiting to try out. Among them are Bertha, a great big frog, and Lucy, a young, small frog.

The frogs all try their best.

"We are the frogs, we are the children …"

"I will surviiive! Yeah, yeah!"

Lucy doesn't get to sing — not one note. Amadeus says she is too little for the choir. Then, it's Bertha's turn. The choir director likes her size, but when she starts to sing … well, it's pretty strange. The other frogs cover their ears. Amadeus says she is a disgrace to her species.

Bertha and Lucy are pretty sad, but Bertha remains positive. She says she's going to make some soup (she likes to cook) so Lucy will grow. In return, Lucy will teach her to sing.

So Bertha makes a slug soup, fly broth and lily pad stew, but Lucy remains small, and no matter how hard she tries, Lucy cannot teach Bertha how to sing.

Then, Lucy has an ingenious idea. You won't believe it.

I love this book.

"Bertha and the Frog Choir" costs $17.95 in hardcover. You can find it in the children's room at the Craig branch of Moffat County Libraries.