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Book Review: “Ribbit!” By Rodrigo Folgueira, Illustrated By Poly Bernatene


“Ribbit!”

A group of frogs hears a familiar sound coming from a very unfamiliar source in their pond. Who is this pink intruder? Does this pig think he’s a frog? Is he mocking us? How dare he imitate us! What does he want, anyway? After much consultation and consternation, the frogs (now with an entourage of onlookers) decide to seek out the wise old beetle for his advice. The beetle helps put things in perspective and helps the frogs to see things from the pig’s point of view. But does the advice come too late for the frogs?

Ribbit! is a delightful parable about the desire to fit in. But in a clever twist on this theme, it is the outsider, Pig, who is self assured. While the “in group” of frogs fusses and fidgets about what to do with this stranger in their midst, Pig sits Buddha-like at peace with himself and his simple offering of friendship.

Rodrigo Folqueira does a great job reeling the reader in with that first, unexpected “Ribbit!” That simple, single word helps punctuate the rising drama of the story and even serves as comic relief to the tension that surrounds this peaceful pig. There is a subtle, yet powerful, lesson that Pig teaches us: be confident in yourself; and if one person doesn’t “get you,” just keep branching out until somebody does.

Poly Bernatene brings this story to life with gentle watercolors on textured paper. He perfectly captures the serenity of Pig and contrasts that wonderfully with the exasperation of the frantic frogs. The dedication page states that, “This book is dedicated to friendship, especially ours.” And indeed, Ribbit! reminds us all that friendship can come in any size, shape or color (or species!).

Read more book reviews by Brian Rock, a children’s writer and award winning songwriter.


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