Huber’s debut picture book about a young girl who has adventures in her quest for answers.
Hecky is a curious young girl who supposedly asks too many questions, although from the text, she doesn’t seem to be unduly inquisitive. (Are 10 questions from one student during an entire school day really an exorbitant amount?) Her mother and teacher tell her to stop asking so many questions, but her curiosity will not be suppressed. When she learns that her teacher lost her reading glasses in FrogBog Forest, Hecky’s mom tells her not to go there because strange creatures inhabit it; Hecky nonetheless decides to investigate. She enlists her brother, Shmecky, to join her, and off they go adventuring. To their delight, they meet a charming talking frog who appreciates books and knows how her teacher lost her glasses. When the frog helps the siblings find their way home, an enduring bond is formed between Hecky and the frog. At times, Erlich’s beautiful watercolor illustrations feel somewhat passive, and the character’s faces and bodies aren’t always as expressive as they could be. The text and illustrations are cleverly laid out, with different fonts, strategically placed pictures and unique formatting, as on the page featuring the frog leaping high into the air to see above the trees and figure out what direction Hecky and Shmecky should go to get home. Sometimes the tone of the narrative feels forced, like an adult trying to select words that sound kidlike, instead of seamlessly melding the plot and tone. Nonetheless, the story is original and well-written, even though many action scenes are told rather than shown. Elsewhere, there are missed opportunities to expand the story, as when the frog tells the kids how the teacher lost her glasses. Solving that mystery was the primary reason Hecky and Shmecky went into the woods in the first place, yet the narrative doesn’t mention the children’s reaction to the frog’s story. Fortunately, the sweet conclusion offers a fun uptick in energy.
A cute, well-told story in a series with potential.