We Are Not FROGS! by Michael Morpurgo and Sam Usher

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We Are Not FROGS! by Michael Morpurgo and Sam Usher

Category: Dyslexia Friendly
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: A dyslexia-friendly picture book so that dyslexic parents and carers can read to their children. It's a lovely story with great illustrations too.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2016
Publisher: Barrington Stoke
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1781125120

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After the storm the frogs and the toads all came out onto the lawn to play long jump. This was the frogs' choice as they could jump further and the toads just wanted an easy life. But - through a series of unfortunate incidents involving lorries, dogs, children, a cart and an ice cream container, first the toads ended up in the ice cream container and after they sold the frogs down the river in exchange for being put into a muddy ditch, the frogs - all twenty two of them - were in the same prison and it was only thanks to Mutt the dog that they escaped.

It's a lovely story with some gorgeous illustrations. There's a gentle humour of the type which makes you smile at the flash of recognition you get. See what I mean:

Mutt went roaring after the lorry, chasing it all the way along the fence until he was quite sure it would never come back.

Jago was pulling a small cart. Alice was sitting inside the cart, and both of them were reading. They were taking turns pulling, but it always seemed to be Jago's turn.

OK, you're probably thinking, nice story book with lovely illustrations and it doesn't sound as though reading it to the kids night after night for three weeks is going to be too bad, but there's a little bit more to this book. The first point is quite simple: on ten of the double-page spreads there's something to search for. You start at one and work your way up to ten, so there's a gentle encouragement to count as well as a test of observation and some of the searches are not easy at all.

It's the second point which is vitally important though. The book is dyslexia friendly: good quality, matte cream paper so there's no bleed through from the reverse and no shine to distract the reader, a specially-designed font which encourages the eye forward, and the text's not justified so there's less chance of losing your place on the page. Now if you're wondering why books for such young children need to be dyslexia friendly, think for a moment about the parents or carers of small children who might be dyslexic. Children need encouraging to read from an early age and it's not just something they're going to pick up in school: they need to have been around books from an early age. This book will help adults who struggle to read because they're dyslexic to overcome the problem and read to their children.

It means too that when children start reading this is a useful book for them to practice on as all the factors which make this book dyslexia friendly also make the book more accessible to the emerging reader. I'm many times the target age of the readership of this book but I've recently had eye problems and Barrington Stoke's dyslexia-friendly books are the ones which I find easiest to read. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

Just a very slight note of caution: this story was first published in a different form in Animal Stories for the Very Young (Kingfisher 1994). I haven't been able to find that it's currently in print and there's no suggestion that it was dyslexia friendly, but I'd hate you to be disappointed if the original book is on the nursery shelf.

If you like the idea of this book we can also recommend Freddy and the Pig by Charlie Higson and Mark Chambers.

Buy We Are Not FROGS! by Michael Morpurgo and Sam Usher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We Are Not FROGS! by Michael Morpurgo and Sam Usher at Amazon.co.uk.

Buy We Are Not FROGS! by Michael Morpurgo and Sam Usher at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy We Are Not FROGS! by Michael Morpurgo and Sam Usher at Amazon.com.


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