Text and illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering © 2003
Published by Candlewick Press
A NICK JR. FAMILY MAGAZINE Best Book of the Year
A New England Book Show Juvenile Category Winner
A New York Book Show Children’s Trade Hardcover Winner
WHY THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE IS A KEM GEM
Like the boy’s wish in this story, I found a true TREASURE. The expressionistic illustrations in THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE are distinctively whimsical! With splatters of speckles and spackles, the tactile textures and twine are untraditional, uninhibited and sublime. Once I finally stopped admiring Timothy Basil Ering’s masterpiece, I still admire it, I understood that Ering’s message was as tender as the “tiny gray specks” that sprout into “wonderous riches”. Every child will delight in this fantastical story about treasures, thieves, friendship and patience; thanks to Frog Belly Rat Bone.
“Stand tall, Frog Belly Rat Bone!” shouted the boy, waving his hands like a wizard.
Holy texture, Batman! The raised cover! The scratchy text! The acrylic washes and scuffs! Ering’s sense of ingenuity and fun is immediately reflected not only in his unconventional artwork, but also in a main character on the hunt for great things in unexpected places. He manifests his humor in the gestures and expressions of the curious boy, the conniving thieves, and of course, in swollen Frog Belly Rat Bone himself. Even the title, FROG BELLY RAT BONE is fun to say again and again. Readers of all ages will enjoy the messy spreads in Ering’s tale of friendship, patience, and the joy of discovering treasure.
“Frog Belly Rat Bone, one, two, three…You are the monster who will protect the specks.”
ANNA MARRAS’ TAKE
Timothy Basil Ering created a clever tale of possibilities by juxtaposing the dark, drab, dreariness of cement and metal with vibrant flowers and exuberant creatures. I’ve grown especially fond of two supporting characters, a funny rabbit and a fruit fly wearing an “I Heart Jelly” t-shirt.
Young readers will love exploring for the unexpected within. For instance, in one last lovable spread, Basil stitched his story together, just like he stitched up his dancing protagonist Frog Belly Rat Bone.
This story may make you scratch your head. But in a good way. Basil’s living and breathing text and illustrations help us believe that something can come out of nothing. And the best riches are often camouflaged—in little specks, unlikely heroes, and the art of diplomacy.
“Monster!” said Frog Belly Rat bone. “But my dear boy, you’ve made me far too good-looking to be a monster!”
Other children’s books illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering:
- Newberry Award Winning The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
- Finn Throws a Fit by David Elliot
- Punkzilla by Adam Rapp
- Necks Out For Adventure by Timothy Basil Ering
- Sad Doggy by Jennifer B. Lawrence
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