The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Iain Smyth and Michael Terry

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The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Iain Smyth and Michael Terry

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Buy The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Iain Smyth and Michael Terry at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath
Reviewed by Keith Dudhnath
Summary: A simple joke brilliantly executed with some clever paper engineering. Children and adults alike will laugh their heads off.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 12 Date: October 2009
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
ISBN: 978-1408804964

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Do you know the joke about the wide-mouthed frog? You must have heard it. It's a classic. It's one that you really need to tell in person, with your fingers pulling your mouth wide open, but to hopefully spark your memory, the wide-mouthed frog introduces himself to a number of animals until he finally comes across a crocodile who eats wide-mouthed frogs, and the frog does his best to disguise who he is whilst saying Ooh, you don't see many of those round here, do you? I'm hardly doing it justice, but it's very cheesy and funny. Anyway, this is a book of that joke.

It's a funny joke that will tickle adults and children alike. It's brilliantly silly, accessible and amusing. What makes the book of The Wide-Mouthed Frog an absolute delight is the execution of the punchline. With some clever paper engineering, the frog's wide mouth that you've been able to see right through from the front page, suddenly closes to a tiny round hole in the middle. They'll want you to read the story again and again, and you'll be happy to because it's the sort of joke that gets funnier every time you say it, especially if you do a silly voice.

At first I thought it was just a simple idea brilliantly executed, but there is more to it than that. Michael Terry's illustrations are as wonderful as ever, with bold, charming and interesting animal characters. They set the scene perfectly, and cry out for you to do a different voice for each character. There's a strong sense of repetition throughout, which gets very young children hooked into the story and also helps make the first steps in identifying some words. The alliteration is a fun use of language, which just adds to the overall quality of the tale. And let's not overlook the skill needed to make a spoken joke funny when written - see my utter failure in my introductory paragraph if you don't believe me.

As a lover of cheesy jokes, I hope this is the first of many similar picture books from Iain Smyth and Michael Terry. My preferences would be for the one about the flock of cows, the matterbaby, and the dog who's got no dictionary. Sure, no children would actually get the jokes, but I'd be incredibly happy. I'm sure they'll pick great jokes that actually work for children and adults alike, just like The Wide-Mouthed Frog does. Highly recommended.

My thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly by Simms Taback mixes the same sense of humour, repetition and plenty of animals, to great effect. My Animals by Xavier Deneux is a gorgeous book of various creatures. Ten Friendly Frogs by Sally Hobson has a frogs a-plenty.

Buy The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Iain Smyth and Michael Terry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Iain Smyth and Michael Terry at Amazon.co.uk


Buy The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Iain Smyth and Michael Terry at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Wide-Mouthed Frog by Iain Smyth and Michael Terry at Amazon.com.

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