Sunday, July 24, 2016

Anna & Froga: Out and About by Anouk Richard

Anna & Froga: Out and About

In the fifth volume of Anouk Ricard's hilarious modern kids’ classic, Anna, Froga, Ron, Christopher, and Bubu continue their non-adventures with bickering, needling, cajoling, and honest friendship. No white lie goes unexposed, no small embarrassment goes unrevealed, no secret is kept. For Christmas, the gang decides to forego shopping malls and make their own gifts for one another; Bubu goes on a retreat to shed a few extra pounds and get in touch with his zen side; a vampire with exceptional Scrabble skills moves in next door; and the five friends embark on an unforgettable trip to Paris, where they stay in an itsy-bitsy apartment. Rarely is friendship treated so realistically and delightfully as it is in the comics of Anouk Ricard.

My Review

I feel slightly awkward writing this review because I have to confess the book has gone missing. I usually write my reviews with the book sitting right next to me. However, I know why the book has gone missing. Since we received this book from the publisher about a month ago, my children have been obsessed with the quirky, mildly inappropriate, and the unapologetic dialogue between the characters in this book. They have it hidden in their rooms, safe from me taking it away for the purpose of writing reviews. The content is definitely intended for an older audience (8-10 years old). However, my four-year-old has spent countless hours pouring over the bright illustrations.

 What makes the dialogue so hysterical, is because I can actually hear people saying the phrases. Sometimes, when you read children's books, the dialogue comes across as cutesy.

However, the author also knows how to go without any dialogue to get a point across.  In particular, there are two pages that show hot air balloon safety rules which exemplify creative restraint where words are not necessary. My youngest child loves these pages probably because it shows a series of things she would try to do if she had the chance. (See image below.)
I also appreciate how come pages look like comic book pages, and other pages look like they were taken from a children's picture book. For kids who are reluctant readers, this book is an excellent example of making stories intelligent and visually enticing to draw in the reader.

My nine-year-old daughter told me what she likes the most about this book is how each of the characters is unique. The book celebrates their differences rather than have them all act and dress the same way. The book is broken up into several short stories. Her favorite of the short stories is one called "Smartyphone." In this short story, the dog character, who is named Bubu, finds a smart phone and keeps it. When his friends find out he kept a phone he found, they debate whether or not he should try to find the owner. Eventually, the owner of the phone calls and finds the kids. Bubu learned a lesson to try and return items that are found. My daughter told me she really liked how it taught a moral that you should return found items without sounding "like a teacher." This is why I think the book will appeal to the third to fifth grader.


Check it out for sale on Amazon:

FTC Required Disclosures:
 *I received a review copy from the publisher free of charge. All opinions expressed in this review represent my honest opinions about the book. **This post contains affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase the books through these links, I receive a small portion of the payment, which I use to support this blog. Thanks for your support!

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