Move over, rodent. There’s a new class pet in town.
In this companion novel to Birney’s Friendship According to Humphrey (2005) and its many sequels, readers see the beloved hamster from an amphibian’s perspective. Until he was captured from his pond, Og the frog was a pretty average fellow. Now he’s a class pet in Mrs. Brisbane’s room, second only to Humphrey himself, with all his basic needs taken care of. But “it’s a lot smaller than the swamp,” and this new life takes some adjustment. Following Humphrey’s lead, he finds ways to give the kids in the room some gentle help and guidance. Yet just when Og’s settling in, there’s talk of returning him to the wild once more. Would it be kindness or cruelty to send Og back into nature? And does he even know which one he’d prefer? Though writing with her customarily light touch, Birney gives serious thought to the plight of pets caught in the wild, giving voice to every side and debating the most humane response. Og’s miscommunications with Humphrey provide ample comic relief, as do the frog’s songs, which he launches into with gusto.
While it may not be that easy being green, this book mixes the sweet and the serious in a ribbitting read. (Fiction 7-11)