14:14 PB ELEMENTS – Frog Song – WORD PLAY
My last book for the 14:14 Challenge is not your ordinary ‘ribbit.’
author Brenda Guiberson
illustrator Gennady Spirin
(1,375 words, AR Reading Level 4.5)
Lush in the color and detail of Spirin’s illustration, this picture book is also rich in language with Guiberson’s lyrical approach to the lives of frogs. Like most good non-fiction works, the focus is narrowed to a particular aspect, in this case, frog song.
First, what kid–any age between 2 and 62–wouldn’t grab a book with a cover like this off the shelf and hop to the first cozy lily-pad to read about a big red frog? I did.
Furthermore, consider the opening page, full of word play:
Frogs have a song for trees, bogs, burrows, and logs. When frogs have enough moisture to keep gooey eggs, squirmy tadpoles, and hoppity adults from drying out, they can sing almost anywhere. Croak! Ribbit! Bzzzt! Plonk! Brack! Thrum-rum!
Their songs are printed in various fonts, splayed across colorful habitat backgrounds.
Word play features such as onomatopoeia, assonance, metaphor, alliteration, consonance…all are in place in this book. After all, it’s a book about swamp music. Sound is the main character.
Kids will love the uncommon behavior of some of these amphibians, but will also have fun ‘performing’ the various calls that appear on every page. I did.
This book is an exemplary model of how story elements such as word play can be used to elevate non-fiction above the simplicity of bare facts. If you find this book, I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I did.
(See a list of other reviewers’ posts in Christi’s latest post at Write Wild.)