Thursday, September 3, 2015

Learning from Picture Books: I Don't Want to Be a Frog

I actually like frogs and even wrote a novel about a toad (close cousin to a frog). But I can see why someone might want a different life sometimes! This cute story is short and a fun read for preschoolers.

Summary from Random House:
books about self-acceptance

Fans of Mo Willems’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back will love meeting this willful young frog with a serious identity crisis. Frog wants to be anything but a slimy, wet frog. A cat, perhaps. Or a rabbit. An owl? But when a hungry wolf arrives—a wolf who HATES eating frogs—our hero decides that maybe being himself isn’t so bad after all. In this very silly story with a sly message, told in hilarious dialogue between a feisty young frog and his heard-it-all-before father, young readers will identify with little Frog’s desire to be something different, while laughing along at his stubborn yet endearing schemes to prove himself right.

I Don’t Want to Be a Frog was written by Dev Petty and illustrated by Mike Boldt. Doubleday, an Imprint of Random House Children’s Books, 2015.

This book has a fun book trailer

My thoughts as a writer:

This book is interesting because it departs from the usual structure with several attempts to solve a problem. The conflict comes from the child frog’s internal wish to be something else, and is solved when a new character suddenly comes into the story. Breaking traditional rules of structure works here since the whole book creates a very believable conversation between child and parent.

Dynamic illustrations and facial expressions bring out the humor in the story. A great partnership between writer and illustrator.

My thoughts as a teacher:

I’d use this story to promote discussion about feelings. It’s a great one for encouraging students to think about another person’s perspective. It puts the reader right in the shoes (or feet) of the child frog to look at the world from his point of view. This story might also be used to teach about how to write dialogue or use speech bubbles, since most of the story is presented through speech bubbles.

Themes: self-acceptance, being positive

Ages: 3 – 7

Grades: preschool – grade 2

Follow-Up Activities:

Choose an animal at random and write a list of reasons why or why not you might not like to be the animal. Or, take one of the animals from the story that the frog wanted to be and discuss the reasons why he might want to be that animal.

Make frog puppets (and a wolf) and retell or act out the story.

Do some research and create a mini book of interesting facts about frogs that other people might not know.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. I have heard of this book before. It sounds like a very fun read. I like the activities, too. They could also give us writers ideas for manuscripts.


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