Fans of Deborah Freedman’s award-winning picture books, The Story of Fish and Snail and Blue Chicken, will delight in her innovative new title, which explores the creative efforts of a mouse writing a story. There’s only one problem: Mouse’s friend, Frog, wants to take part, too, and the two budding authors don’t always see eye-to-eye.
This is a tale of imagination gone wild, as Frog excitedly takes over Mouse’s story. A simple beginning—“Once upon a time Mouse woke up early and set the table for tea”—is hijacked by enthusiastic Frog. Soon Mouse’s story, and the pages of this delicious book, are packed with a king, “elevendy-seven” colorful flavors of ice cream and a myriad of friends arriving to partake of the feast. Like an engineer applying the brakes to a runaway train, Mouse finally cries, “Stop! This story is a mess!”
Repentant and still eager to help, Frog is able to slow down, listen to Mouse and ask helpful questions. Eventually, the two friends find a way to work together to create a new and different story, this one By Mouse and Frog.
A former architect, Freedman brings humor, energy and charm to her characters, making their predicament and their creative efforts feel real. And while young children can learn skills of collaboration and teamwork, parents may find themselves wanting to bring a copy to work where certain co-workers might see it. After all, just like Frog, we sometimes all need a little reminder to be better listeners.