Frog In Winter – Max Velthuijs

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 point
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story:  2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point

 

I have to say, I relate to this poor freezing frog who isn’t designed for winter. 😉

The story is simple – Frog doesn’t dig winter. He has no natural fur or feathers to keep him warm like all his friends, and he’s not happy about being so cold. His friends all try to help, providing him with warm clothes, and eventually keeping him company when he takes to his bed for the winter. Spring arrives and he emerges, back to his usual cheerful self.

While the book has only one female character (Duck), and so cannot pass the Bechdel, and all the characters are animals, so there is no real diversity to speak of, I love the message of this book. Which is that not everyone is cut out for all conditions, and it’s neat if you accept this about your friends, help them through the things that are hard for them, and be happy when they get back on their feet.

I love that they all try to help in their own ways but when it becomes clear that Frog just wants to stay home in bed, they take turns visiting, reading him stories and giving him soup. I kind of want all friendships to be like this. ❤

C loved this book. He said he gave it 5 out of 5, because “the animals were really nice to Frog”. I have to agree. It doesn’t meet our metrics for this project, but it is still very much worth the read.

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Lost and Found – Oliver Jeffers

POINTS: 3 out of 10.

Bechdel: 0 points
Variety of characters: 0 points
Good story:  2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point

This is a really cute story about a boy and a penguin he befriends. The penguin shows up on his doorstep and he assumes its lost, and goes on a quest to help it find its way home, eventually rowing it all the way to the South Pole. But the penguin is not that pleased when they get there, and it transpires that the penguin wasn’t lost, it wasn’t lonely, and just wanted a friend.

It’s a very simple concept – the building of friendship, the fact that they become friends over the course of the quest to help the penguin find his way.

There’s no Bechdel pass – there’s no real dialogue, and the boy and the (genderless) penguin are really the only characters. Similarly you can’t really have diversity with only one human. (There is one other, on one page, also white.) So, metrics wise, there’s not much here.

But it is a lovely story, and I always enjoy a good buddy story (which is what this is really at heart). It’s about finding your friends, and how that can be unexpected. The illustrations are gorgeously bold and striking. The text is simple. Good stuff.