A wonderfully interactive story with a calming ending that should help a child settle down to sleep.
Felix is a small tree frog and he’s lost. He’s also rather frightened by the scary noises in the jungle. There’s the ‘Plip! Plop! Plip! Splosh!’ of the turtle and a ‘Pitter-patter! Rustle! Rustle!’ of the Beetle, not to mention the ‘Crack! Crunch! Clatter!’ of the cheeky monkeys and the ‘Swooshy-whooshy’ of the slithery snake. Luckily, you (the reader) can help by explaining the noises, by scaring away the snake and by helping Felix climb the tree faster. And, if you do, Felix might just be able to find a safe place to sleep and someone special to settle him down to sleep.
Picture books don’t normally address the reader directly and they rarely require the reader to participate in the action. Leap Frog by Jane Clarke and Britta Teckentrup, however, does both and the result is a wonderfully interactive story that’s likely to become a firm favourite with children.
The appeal of the book will, however, depend on the participation of a suitably engaged adult who’s prepared to read and help their child act on all the instructions. This starts on the first page where you’ll be asked to spot the small frog who isn’t joining in. Later you’ll have to clap your hands together and shout, “Shoo, slithery snake!” and a bit later still you’ll be counting the branches from 1 to 10 as you encourage Felix to climb faster and faster.
But don’t worry, you won’t need to rush through. There’s plenty of interest on every page and it’s definitely worth spending a few minutes admiring the bright pictures. Made up of a collage of textured patterns, these are in many ways reminiscent of the style of Eric Carle in his classic The Very Hungry Caterpillar or, less well-known, The Bad-Tempered Ladybird. Given the vibrancy of all the colours, it’s impressive that Felix manages to stand out on every page – but then he does have fluorescent green skin and orange eyes and feet!
While aimed at children towards the younger end of the picture book market, this book will probably also interest slightly older readers as it’s packed with information about jungle creatures, their habits and habitats. Adults will probably prefer the calming ending that should help a child settle down to go to sleep, just like Felix the Frog.
If you enjoyed this, why not try the other books by Jane Clarke and Britta Teckentrup, either Firefly Home or Neon Leon. Alternatively, why not try an interactive story from another author: I adored This book just stole my cat! by Richard Byrne.
Date: February 2019
Publisher: Nosy Crow