If you were an orange-spotted jungle frog, the last thing you’d want to lose is your underpants.
It is the stuff of troubling dreams, but Frog is taking it fairly well. Sort of. “Hopping through the jungle— / ‘Help me! Help me! / What became of dignity? / They stole my underpants!’ ” Newcomer MacIver can turn a phrase in just the right fashion to find purchase in children’s ears—internal rhymes, couplets, quatrains, some intriguing new vocabulary—and they play nicely with Chapman’s cheery watercolors. Teddy is the first to lend Frog a hand, even though he “hides a smile. / ‘Who would steal your undies? / It’s hardly worth their while.’ ” Frog thinks otherwise: “Every frog would give his legs / to own a pair like these.” Chimpanzee joins the hunt, as does Mr. Elephant: “ ‘How dreadful!’ cries the elephant. ‘Now, please don’t think me rude, / but I am shocked to see a frog / so plainly in the nude.’ ” They find the unmentionables—100 spotted jungle frogs are playing with them—and then have to outfit all the frogs with briefs (made from lakka leaves), which makes Frog unhappy, as he is no longer unique. His inspired act of self-expression: He’ll wear his backward. Sure, it’s cockamamie, but it takes on life when set to the music of rhyme and rhythm. A guffawing read-along with a smart taste for verbiage.
Underwear stylin’ with Frog—keep an eye out for its contagious fashion statement. (Picture book. 4-6)