Odd-couple frogs Kwik and Kwak are friends.
The spare text, which follows the green, amphibian friends as they sail away together on a raft, a boat, and eventually a glider made of leaves and grasses, is written fully in dialogue. It has no attributive clauses, however, and there are no variations in typeface or color to coordinate with the two frogs, so it’s sometimes a bit difficult to tell who is speaking and who is who. Layout decisions help indicate that Kwik is the cautious friend wearing black-and-white stripes, and Kwak is the adventurous one clad in a red-striped outfit. While visual comparisons to Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad are inevitable, the large trim size of this picture book doesn’t have the cozy sensibility of that classic early-reader series, and the watercolor palette of the full-bleed illustrations deviates from the monochromatic earthy tones that Lobel employed. Popov’s scenes place his protagonists in a greenly damp environment, details such as their leaf rafts and reed polls giving a sense of scale. The friends’ bond is similar to classic duos’, however, Kwak’s optimist Frog to Kwik’s pessimist Toad creates a balanced dynamic as they set sail, face perils, and return safely together.
Friendly, froggy fun. (Picture book. 4-6)