Monday, August 10, 2009

Camp Run-A-Muck

When I was a storytime librarian, Jonathan London's Froggy books were among the "go to" titles for a successful time with preschoolers. They love the predictability of each story -- each has the "Froggy!" "Whaaat?" dialog and Froggy always does something a little embarrassing and gets "a little more red in the face than green." Froggy Goes to Camp is no exception. After a few false starts, Froggy's family takes him to camp. He has a series of unfortunate encounters with the camp director (who also happens to be his school principal), but all ends well and Froggy sings "Beans, beans the musical fruit/the more you eat the more you toot!" all the way home. Guaranteed to tickle the funny bone of most four- and five-year-olds.

Narrator John McDonough has a high voice for a man, and a part of my ear thinks he's straining to get the words out. Despite this, I enjoyed his delivery of the onomatopaeia that runs throughout this story (boing, flop, zup, splat) as well as the appropriately froggy-throated sound of Froggy's father bleating "FROGGY!" I'm always glad to hear a narrator sing and McDonough sings the bean song with aplomb. His commitment to young listeners who are reading along is evident in the deliberate pace he sets. Alas, it's pretty deadly for adult listeners, who wish this method of reading could be a little livelier.

We've got 13 of these titles at my library, and -- despite the fact that most of them are available in cassette only -- they seem to be circulating pretty well. I guess that Froggy is popular in any form.

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