Thursday, January 22, 2009


Ophelia's friend Kevin is experiencing some discomfort. While Ophelia is rushing to soothe him, she runs into Meerkat, who then turns to Frog. As the friends meet, their misunderstanding of Kevin's problem continues to escalate! This is the forest version of the game "telephone," with each animal upping the ante by adding a new ailment.

A stomachache turns into terrible cramps with a sore throat, which leads to Kevin breaking his leg by falling out of a tree ... and so on. What began as butterflies in Kevin's tummy quickly snowballs into a deadly disease.

The children in our reading group were giggling wildly each time a new animal appeared on the scene, speculating what each fresh interpretation would be.The kids were energized by the ongoing action, their eyes wide with anticipation. It's wonderful finding a book that can grab the attention of an entire group.

Aside from being entertaining, this is also beautifully illustrated. Each animal is drawn to appear perfectly charming in his or her own way. Meerkat has somehow managed to lay his paws on a penguin shaped hot water bottle, which he tightly clutches for Kevin, while Frog lugs a teapot about.

This is a sweet read about a group of animals properly concerned about their friend and yet terribly misguided. And how does Kevin fare? It turns out his tummy trouble stemmed from being a bit nervous about being in love! All that fuss about .. well, love usually is a bit of a fuss, isn't it?

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