"FRRROOGGYY!!" "Wha-a-a-a-t?"

Jonathan London is the author of many children's books, though it's the "Froggy" series that is his main claim to fame... The Froggy books are inherently pretty dumb, but there's a goofy quality about them that's likely to endear it to small children of all stripes. You're likely to have the same experience with it as we did: the first book you try will be fun, but the series will wear thin pretty quickly when you realize that the same quirky affectations are repeated in every book. Froggy always "flop-flop-flops" inside and outside his house, he always puts his clothes on with the same --zip-zap-zup!-- sound effects, his parents always call out to him -- "FRRROOGGYY!!" and he always replies, "Wha-a-a-a-t?", and at some point he always gets so embarrassed that he looks "more red in the face than green." It's cute, but gets old quick. If your kid just loves these books, though, there are tricks that can help you keep your sanity: skip the sound effects, shorten the flop-flops to something livelier; in short, change the text to something that feels more natural. Also, pick the books you like best, because some are dumber than others. That being said -- enjoy!






Jonathan London Bibliography
ReadThatAgain.com: Books By Author | Books By Title | Main Index



"Froggy Gets Dressed"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 1992)

The first (?) and one of the best Froggy books. Froggy wants to go out and play in the snow, but everytime he gets out and starts making a snowball, his mom calls him back inside because he's forgotten some article of clothing. When she reminds him he forgot to put his underwear on, he turns more red than green. Interesting detail: when Mom calls out "FRRROOGGYY!!", the letters of his name have the color pattern of whatever article of clothing she wants him to put on. Cute. (B-)


"Let's Go, Froggy!"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 1994)

Dad proposes that he and Froggy go for a bike ride, but every time Froggy says he's ready, Dad tells him to find this thing or that, before they can leave. What a pest Dad can be. I mean, the bike helmet, sure, but why is he giving Froggy such a hard time about his butterfly net and a rubber ball that Grandpa gave him? The zingers come when they have their picnic at home, not out on the trail, and when it's Dad who blushes, not Froggy! And this, after giving Froggy such a hard time about remembering where he puts his things, it turns out that Dad can't remember where he put his own backpack! Ho, ho, ho! Much slapstick, little story. (C-)


"Froggy Learns To Swim"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 1995)

One of the better Froggy books... Froggy's family goes to the swimming hole, but he's afraid to go in. When he finally does try it, Froggy likes swimming so much, he doesn't want to go home. (B-)


"Froggy Goes To School"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 1996)

(-)


"Froggy's First Kiss"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 1998)

A Valentine's Day book in which Froggy develops a crush on Frogilina, who reciprocates with a big ol' smackeroo for her would-be beau. Does Froggy turn more red than green after that? You bet your sweet bippy he does. Then he kind of freaks out and withdraws, and we realize he is too young for the whole girlfriend thing... So, Froggy heads for home and asks his Mommy to be his valentine, instead. The sad part is that Frogilina spends the rest of the series mooning after Froggy, eternally unrequited. Alas! (B-)


"Froggy's Halloween"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 1999)

As the sacred day grows nearer and nearer, Froggy spends all his time daydreaming about what costume we will wear for Halloween. Should he be a superhero? A pirate? A ghost? Finally, in the middle of the night, the day before Halloween, it hits him: he'll be the Frog Prince! This suits Frogilina just fine, since she's going as a princess... Naturally, she tries, once again, to lay a big wet one on him, and as Froggy madly dashes away to escape her embrace (girls! yuck!) he stumbles and lands -- flop!! -- on a neighbor's porch. Face = red. Froggy has a fun time trick-or-treating, though, and heads home with all his loot, except -- oh, no! -- all the candy fell out of a hole in his bag! It's okay -- Mom has plenty of chocolate-covered flies for him to eat when he gets back. A decent trick-or-treating story. This has the inevitable over-emphasis on candy and sweets, but it was surprisingly easy to edit it out. (B)


"Froggy Plays Soccer"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 1999)

Tommy Treetoad, the star quarterback, mashes his three-toed cleats into Froggy's jaw, making him more red in the face than green... No, wait. Just kidding! This is a fine introductory book about grade school athletics -- the text drill the basics of the game into your head ("Head it...! Boot it...! Knee it...! Shoot it...! BUT DON'T USE YOUR HANDS!") but of course, in the heat of the moment, Froggy does grab the ball, and then blushes like crazy. It hadda happen, right? You can definitely empathize with the little guy... At least he didn't run the ball past the whole defensive line and score a goal only to find out he was offsides. That sucks, too. (-)


"Froggy's Best Christmas"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2000)

(-)


"Froggy Bakes A Cake"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2000)

(-)


"Froggy Eats Out"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2001)

Can Froggy behave himself in a nice, fancy restaurant? Well, no. But that's what they make fast-food flyburger places for... Nice to see this universal parental concern dealt with in a kid's book, even if it's not the greatest narrative. On the one hand, it does describe a common hardship that many parents (and kids) go through, and provides a good opportunity for families to have a discussion about restaurant etiquette (probably best to read this before that big trip to Chez Snoot...) On the other hand, having them just give up and go to McHorsefly's at the end sends kind of a mixed message: we expect you to behave yourself at a restaurant, but don't really think you can. Hmmm. Also, the humor here is pretty lowbrow, even for the Froggy series. This one's a toss-up. (C)


"Froggy Goes To Bed"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2000)

Well, he's supposed to go to bed, but he keeps finding reasons to stall. He needs a glass of water, a snack, etc. Bad role modeling, at least for parents who want to discourage this kind of pre-sleep behavior, although admittedly true to life. Froggy turns red in the face when he drops the water glass. Mom is so tired she falls asleep reading the goodnight story... and then Froggy goes to sleep! Hah, hah, hah! If used as a springboard for discussion, this could be useful... But if your kid hasn't already figured out a bunch of ways to wheedle their way out of bedtime, why put bad ideas in their head? We humorless parents say NO! (C)


"Froggy Plays In The Band"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2002)

Heck, he doesn't just play in the band, he puts it together, and drills his pals for an upcoming marching band competition. At first they sound terrible, but they keep practicing and do pretty well the day of the contest, except for a mishap or two. Does Froggy do something embarrassing and turn red in the face? You betcha. But he also shows us the value of sticking with something difficult and surprising yourself at how much you can accomplish, if you just stick with it. An okay book to help reinforce an interest in music and the performing arts. (B-)


"Froggy Goes To The Doctor"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2002)

There are lots of things that can make you blush during a doctor's visit... like forgetting to wear underwear! But Froggy gets over his anxiety and has a good experience... Nice that Dr. Mugwort is a female doctor... Also, lots of new sound effects to work with here, like a rubber reflex hammer, for example. (B-)


"Froggy's Baby Sister"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2003)

A mixed bag. Froggy is all amped-up about the prospect of having a little baby brother, but gets bummed when he finds out Mom had a girl (guess amphibians don't get ultrasounds...), named Pollywogilina. The sexism of Froggy's response is kind of a drag, and tilts the book too far into a boy-centric direction for my tastes, but after he recovers from that cruel blow, Froggy gets impatient for the day when he can play with cute little Polly. He discovers that infants can be kind of boring (especially when you're waiting for their tail to drop off so they can walk...) but he hangs in there and is the first one to see her walk. Eventually, the situation improves when Froggy gets a chance to explore his own nurturing side and form a bond with his inert little sibling. And of course he finds a chance to blush: when he puts Polly's diaper on sideways and it leaks... Boy, is Froggy red in the face! (C)


"Froggy's Sleepover"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2005)

(-)


"Froggy Rides A Bike"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2006)

After dreaming of how cool it would be to have a new bicycle, Froggy goes to the bike shop with his dad and gets one for real. He has to settle for one that isn't too big or too fancy, and when he brings it home, has to accept that learning how to do something can take time and effort, and might involve a mistake or two. After falling off a time or two, and even running into a big tree (face = red), Froggy gets the hang of it, and is last seen riding off into the sunset. Kids learn the value of persistence, and also about wearing a helmet when you ride a bike. (B-)


"Froggy Plays T-Ball"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2007)

Tether ball? Seriously? A whole book about tether ball? Hmmm. (-)


"Froggy Goes To Hawaii"
Written by Jonathan London
Illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
(Penguin/Viking, 2011)

(-)




Links

  • Penguin Books




    More Picturebooks



    Home Page

    ReadThatAgain.com
    Other Book Reviews
    Slipcue.Com (Music & Film)




    Copyright owned by Read That Again.Com.  All Rights Reserved.  
Unauthorized use, reproduction or translation is prohibited.