From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—On the banks of Washtub Pond, Foo Frog, Sue-Lin Salamander, and Mao-Mao Mudpuppy live as friends the same size until Foo starts growing. Unfortunately, his ego grows as well, and soon he is convinced that he is the biggest animal in the world. When his friends try to tell him about the enormous elephant they saw, he puffs himself up to prove his size and floats away. Encounters with a heron, a huge fish, a sea turtle, and the elephant literally let the hot air out of Foo until, ego deflated, he returns to his friends. They agree that he is the "perfect size…for a frog" and "the perfect size for a friend." This variation on a common folktale theme is endearing for its focus on the emotions and relationships of the characters. Yang lends a distinctly Chinese feel to the story through onomatopoeic phrases that will be unfamiliar to many Western readers ("shuuuuuu" as hot air whistles out of the frog, "peiii!" as a turtle spits him out), and through the bright, folk-flat feeling of her gouache illustrations.—Kathleen Kelly MacMillan, Carroll County Public Library, MD
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The silly title sets the scene for this funny fable of Foo Frog, Sue-Lin Salamander, and Mao-Mao Mudpuppy, who all began life on the same day in Washtub Pond. All is well until Foo grows bigger, always winning at tug-of-war and lily-pad wrestling. Not only is Foo’s body growing, but so is his head. “I must be the biggest animal in the whole wide world,“ he boasts. But when his friends observe an elephant at the pond and described it to Foo, the frog sucks in so much air that a puff of wind lifts him and carries him over farms, rice paddies, and animals—all of which appear small from above. His airborne superiority is quickly quelled by a great white heron, a fish, and a giant sea turtle. Finally back on land, he realizes that he is a small frog in a big world, but the perfect size for being friends. Gouache illustrations made up of buoyant, spontaneous, and comedic strokes match the exaggeration of this foolish frog. Grades K-2. --Julie Cummins