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THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE by Timothy Basil Ering

THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE

by Timothy Basil Ering, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering

Age Range: 4 - 8

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-7636-1382-7
Publisher: Candlewick

Shrieking “Parable!” at every page turn, this takes its design concept from another, arguably more lasting parable. Featuring an embossed cover with faux-stitching up the side that uneasily recalls Boris Karloff’s makeup job from Frankenstein, this wildly self-conscious offering presents the story of an unnamed boy who wanders the reaches of Cementland. This boy is very special—resembling nothing so much as a red-and-white-striped trashcan with stick arms and legs, he roams in search of treasure. One day he finds “a strange and wonderful box. Attached to the box was a wrinkled note, which said, ‘Put my wondrous riches into the earth and enjoy.’ ” Predictably enough, when the boy sprinkles the riches—tiny gray specks contained within many brightly colored packets—into the earth, mysterious robbers come overnight and steal them. So the boy manufactures a living scarecrow of wire, old socks, and underwear and dubs it Frog Belly Rat Bone. Together the boy and Frog Belly Rat Bone make friends with the three potential robbers, a rat, a rabbit, and a fruit fly, and win them over to the mysteries of gardening. Smeary full-bleed gray-green acrylics modulate to smeary red-orange-pink acrylics as the “wondrous treasure” sprouts until “Cementland is filled with colors now!” Over-designed, overburdened, overbearing nod to easy environmentalism aimed directly at the Grandma market. (Picture book. 4-8)