I love William Bee's books. The first book of his we owned was Whatever, and it was read often and with much curiosity by Beeper as the turn of events that play out in the book are decidedly a-typical for a children's book. I will just say it is a good morality story for children with more attitude than is prudent for their age. And this book, Beware of the Frog, also has its own unexpected story-line--and better yet, is illustrated in William Bee's own unique style--at once lush with retro design detail and saturated with colors that pop from the white backgrounds. I admit, the illustration style is what initially attracted me to his books in the first place. And in fact, I picked this book up for Beeper at The Tate Modern gift shop when Mr Beeper and I were in London this past spring (everyplace I travel, I always buy Beeper a book or two inspired by the locale) which has no shoddy assortment of modern and finely illustrated children's books (and it is one my favorite places in the world to shop--lucky for those of us who live all the way across the pond from London, they have a wonderful on-line shop).
This story unfolds a bit like a fairy tale with a little old lady, Mrs Collywobbles, living alone near a dark scary wood--alone, that is, except for her pet frog. Yep, it's a story about a sweet little old lady and her beloved amphibious pet--and the quirky twists keep on coming, people.
What proceeds to play out is that various creatures with their own evil intent emerge one-by-one from the woods--Greedy Goblin, Smelly Troll, and Giant Hungry Ogre...
...only to meet their match and their fate in Mrs Collywobbles pet frog. Yes, that Beware of the Frog sign on the front gate is not an idle warning--a evil-creature eating frog is not to be trifled with. Although, clearly, these guys had it coming.
There is a nice repetitive rhythm to the storyline, making what will happen next delightfully predictable for children--except for the completely unexpected ending. All I will say is, who knew what that frog had up his sleeve or that Mrs Collywobbles had it in her. Curious? Buy a copy of the book or reserve a copy from your local library--do what you have to because this book is fun and wonderful to look at, even for big people.
Also, if you want to learn a little more about William Bee and his likes, check out his brief but entertaining web page--here.