The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering is ten years old! But, it's new to me...
I'll be honest, I think I may be the only person on the planet who HAS NOT read The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Di Camillo. So, when I first came across Ering's work in 2009 while reviewing the picture book Finn Throws a Fit by David Elliott, I didn't realize just how famous he is. However, one read of Finn Throws a Fit and I knew right away how fantastic Ering is. While his illustration style might not be for everyone, I find the chaotic painterliness of it very refreshing in a picture book. If you are a connoisseur of picture books or just someone who has read many, take a moment to think about the number of picture books that have white page borders or backgrounds. Then think about the number of books that utilize a bright and shiny color palette. Then think about the number of books that have tidily drawn character. Eliminating these kinds of books from the shelves leaves a small group of outliers that can be headed up by Ering. Please be sure not to miss the gallery of other works by Ering as well as some pretty cool stuff related to The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone.
The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone (which is available in PAPERBACK) begins in "a dull, gray, endless place called Cementland" where there was a boy who "had a singular wish: he wished to find a treasure." He searched through the "heaping piles of junk that collected around Cementland. He found greasy toaster ovens, broken TVs and smelly socks. But no treasure." Finally, his efforts are rewarded when he finds a "strange and wonderful box" with a note attached that read, "Put my wondrous riches into the earth and enjoy." The boy finds the box is filled with bright and colorful packets that hold "hundreds of tiny gray specks." The boy is disappointed, but he follows the instructions and plants the specks. When he returns to the specks the next day he is horrified to find the specks have been dug up! He rushes to the junk pile and from smelly socks, moldy pillow stuffing and scraggly wires he creates Frog Belly Rat Bone, King of the Treasures, the monster who will protect the specks and a guy who seems to know exactly how to tend to the specks. On guard the very next night, Frog Belly Rat Bone encounters the thieves - a rat, a rabbit and a fruit fly. What happens next is a little bit frightening, definitely unexpected and, in the end, absolutely marvelous, as the illustration below shows.
Zoe Toft, who runs the superb blog Playing by the Book is hosting her second Edible Book Festival. She also has a Pinterest Board, Edible Books
The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone has also been adapted for the stage byRogue Artists Ensemble!
Other works by Timothy Basil Ering
Finn Throws a Fit is available in PAPERBACK!!
Middle Grade and Young Adult Novels Illustrated
by Timothy Basil Ering
Wild Boy by Mary Losure is the true story of a boy who was found in the woods in 1798 in southern France. Can't wait to read this one!
Snook Alone is the story of a loyal terrier who finds himself stranded on an island after a ferocious storm. Available in paperback!
Source: Review Copy