In "Froggy Gets A Doggy," author Jonathan London and illustrator Frank Remkiewicz get it just right. A picture book that's clever, is filled with onomatopoeia, and sends the right message? Here it is.
Froggy wants a doggy, and he is excited when his mother tells Froggy and his sister they are going to the animal shelter. (First star: they are going to the animal shelter to adopt a dog. Too many picture books show kids going to a pet store to buy a dog that comes from a puppy mill. Adopting a dog or a cat or a bunny is the RIGHT message to send to children.)
Froggy is thrilled, but his mother says she wants a bunny. (Many shelters have rabbits that are abandoned and need homes.) But Froggy wants a doggy. He sees one that he wants. (Second star: it's not a puppy. Adult dogs make great pets for families with children because you know what you are getting. Also, puppies get adopted quickly, adults not so much. Yet they make wonderful companions.)
Mom falls in love with the dog, too. They adopt her, and when they get home, Froggy wants to play with her. (Third star: mom makes him put on her new collar and give her water. Kids can be responsible for caring for dogs and cats -- but only under the watchful eyes of parents. They are not responsible enough to care for most pets by themselves.)
After Froggy does that, he is ready to go for a walk with Doggy. (Fourth star: mom tells him Doggy needs a leash and a pooper scooper.) Finally they are ready to go for a walk.
The family loves their new dog and Froggy learns that while it's a lot of responsibility, it's wonderful to have a companion who sleeps next to you and wants to play with you.
The fifth star? (rarely given to picture books and even more rarely to books that are usually silly and aimed at getting laughs.) The fifth star is because this picture book combines humor with a hugely important message. Most kids want a dog. Most kids don't realize the work and responsibility involved. Maybe "Froggy Gets A Doggy" will help.
Jonathan London has a special place for rescues in his heart. He not only went to the animal shelter (like Froggy) to adopt a dog, but he has a cat as well. Both get along beautifully, just like the animals in his books. He told me, "We always get rescue dogs. They need--and give--so much love."
Thank you to Jonathan London for a picture book that I will be reading often with students when bringing my facility dog to classes and teaching students about dogs and their needs.
Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the Penguin Young Readers Group for review purposes.
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