‘I Don’t Want to Be a Frog’ by Dev Petty: Picture book about an identity crisis

idontwantfrog

Rating: 4 1/2 stars

“I Don’t Want to Be a Frog,” shouts the main kid frog character on the cover of this delightful picture book written by Dev Petty and illustrated by Mike Boldt. His open and very funny mouth, which covers at least two-thirds of his large and very funny face, stays just that way for most of this little and very funny book. And the book proves conclusively and entertainingly that the grass is, indeed, always greener on the other side of the fence. At least it looks that green — as green as his very own skin — to this unhappy (and very spoiled) kiddie frog.

His intellectual daddy knows better, of course:

“I want to be a CAT.
You can’t be a CAT.
Why not?
Because you’re a FROG.
I don’t like being a frog. It’s too WET.
Well, you can’t be a cat.”

(The text and the pictures are equally silly and adorable.)

Froggy goes on to scream that he wants to be a rabbit, a pig, or an owl. And in each case he explains exactly why he hates being a frog and why he really wants to be every other animal. He’s a terrific spoiled-child character. Then comes the big climax and the big twist, all starting with the sudden appearance of a scary-looking, leering, sneering wolf — who also happens to be surprisingly wise and incredibly kind — to Froggy, anyway. Not so much to those other unlucky guys who happen not to be frogs.

You and the kids will get a huge kick out of this one. (JK)

Please note: This review is based on the final hardcover book provided by the publisher, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, for review purposes.