Michael James Dowling steps out in the tradition of Aesop, using anthropomorphized animal characters to teach moral lessons within a Christian framework.
He opens with the titular tale, in which Frog begins to write a story only to find his letters leaping off the page in revolt. The letters must learn that their greatest success comes in doing what they were created to do. From the start the author shows himself wary of nonbiblical truth. After the moral of each tale is revealed he pointedly attacks self-help and Eastern philosophy and religion by quoting various writers, philosophers, and religious leaders of non-Christian traditions under the heading “Wisdom of the World,” which is then contrasted with quotes from Scripture in a “Wisdom of the Word” rebuttal. Confusingly, some quotes used to represent “wordly” wisdom would seem to support the Scriptures referenced. Though the fables are generally well told, a few nonbiblical messages might be mistakenly communicated to those seeking the moral to be clear from the start. For instance, in the story of “Rabbit’s Foxy Guest,” early dialogue could easily lead readers to believe that the tale is a warning against being hospitable toward others rather than a warning against deception. Overall, the book is actively hostile to readers not already aligned with the creators’ worldview.
A mixed bag of morality tales. (Fables. 6-10)