Nine-year-old Reece copes with loss: his parents have separated, and his pet frog, Burgess, has disappeared.
Reece tells his own story in present-tense chapters. He makes and puts up “lost frog” posters. He encounters a bully. He slowly develops a friendship with an eccentric classmate, figuring out ways to help Aaron learn to ride a bike. With his older sister, Hazel, and their mother he takes the ferry from Victoria, British Columbia, to Salt Spring Island to camp and look for the frog in the creek where he and his dad first found him. In her first chapter book, the Canadian author sticks closely to Reece’s point of view, seeing the world through his eyes. When an adult steps out of his car to help Aaron, fallen from his bike again, Reece’s first thought is “stranger danger.” But when a guitar player on the ferry admires his frog poster and offers to help spread the word, the two compose and perform a song. A passenger posts a video on YouTube, which impresses his sometimes-critical but mostly supportive older sister. His mother, grieving the trial separation herself, is understanding. While Burgess doesn’t return, Reece, with a new human friend, moves on. Cartoonist Parkins provides illustrations of the major characters, all apparently white, and Reece’s portrait of Burgess, with toothy grin and bushy eyebrows.
A gentle, realistic early chapter book. (Fiction. 6-9)