by Katharine Mitropoulos
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Print Length: 42 pages
Reviewed by Toni Woodruff
A sweet story of community and competition
Frogathan Spots—proud owner of the best name I’ve read in a children’s book this year—loves a good challenge. So when he learns that his tiny community is hosting a race on an obstacle course, he puts down his plate of flies and starts training. There’ll be no stopping this dedicated little frog from winning.
That is, until his neighbors and friends need his help. Mole needs an apple from the tree. Could Frogathan hop up there and retrieve it, even though he’s busy training? And when he’s done there, giraffe needs help putting on her hat. Cat is stuck across the pond and can’t get back over. Could Frogathan help them too?
When it’s nearing the time for the race, he admits that he hasn’t had enough time to practice because people kept asking for his help. But his mom shows him that he’s actually been training the whole time—leaping up to get an apple, balancing on the giraffe’s neck, hopping across the lily pads—so not only is he actually ready to race, but he’s helped his community in the process.
Ready…Set…Frog is a pleasant little non-rhyming picture book that promotes outside play and helping those in your community, and it uses playful illustrations and a competition-based storyline to do so. Not only does Frogathan do what he can to help those around him, but when it’s time for the competition, they show up for him too.
I’m such a fan of the ways in which this story remains subtle until it shifts to a direct teaching lesson from Frogathan’s mom. The story uses a structure of two pages covering one topic at a time, never wasting any time in getting to the point, the competition, and the sweet moment where Frogathan proudly boasts his second place trophy. It doesn’t go into too much detail surrounding the competition when it finally arrives, but it isn’t much needed for the true purpose of the story.
The bright, colorful illustrations with creative backdrops—like Frogathan’s frog-shaped house—give you and your little one plenty to look at and admire. It also shows a lot of detail about the little water-side community and its residents. It’s clear this community could play a role, similar to the tv show Franklin, in creating a series of stories based on the animals in the area.
What a sweet little book about a sweet little frog! If you’re looking for animal-led stories about community and competition, feast your eyes on Ready…Set…Frog.
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