I heard this picture book being read aloud at the UKLA conference during the summer and thought it was brilliant. I’ve had to wait ages to get hold of a copy as the publishers ran out of stock but we now have a copy in the Centre and I’ve been recommending it as a fun interactive story left, right and centre.
Oi Frog! by Kes Gray (Hodder Children’s Books) is instantly appealing even before you open the book. The cover is bright yellow and features a slightly confused frog sitting on a log with a huge black speech bubble above its head shouting “Oi Frog!”. Immediately you are intrigued to discover who is shouting at the frog and why. I think children will enjoy the use of ‘oi’, a slang word that is usually considered impolite, and will probably delight in being able to use it freely! It does actually only get used once in the book though.
The book starts with the image of an angry cat pointing at the frog on the next page and shouting “Oi Frog! Sit on a log”. The frog complains that logs are uncomfortable and give you splinters (evidenced by the frog jumping about with tears in his eyes and splinters in his bottom). He doesn’t want to sit on logs, maybe he could sit on a mat like the cat? The cat then proceeds (in a bit of a huff) to outline exactly who is allowed to sit on what:
“What about a chair?” said the frog. “I woudn’t mind sitting on a chair.”
“Hares sit on chairs,” said the cat.
“Perhaps I could sit on a stool?” said the frog.
“Mules sit on stools,” said the cat.
“What about a sofa?” said the frog. “I could stretch right out on a sofa!”
“Gophers sit on sofas,” said the cat. “It’s very simple really.”
The frog then asks what various animals sit on whilst the bored looking cat responds as if it should be obvious:
“Don’t you know anything?” said the cat.
“Seals sit on wheels,
doves sit on gloves,
newts sit on flutes,
lizards sit on wizards
and apes sit on grapes.”
You can have great fun trying to get children to guess what the animals will be sitting on. What do puffins sit on? Cows? Weasels? Gorillas? And the hardest of all, what about pumas? Jim Field’s illustrations throughout the book contribute to the fun and show the various animals sitting on their allocated item (imagine a lion sitting on an iron).
The story comes to an inevitable end when the frog innocently asks the cat what dogs sit on…..(well, what can you think of that rhymes with ‘dogs’?)
Great fun for reading aloud. Ages 0-5