Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Memory of Gorfman T. Frog

by Gail Donovan
New York: Dutton, 2009. 180 pgs. Fiction
Fifth-grader Joshua Hewitt is often in trouble at home and at school for his motormouth ways. He can't seem to stop talking, even when it is in his best interest to do so, and his parents and teachers finally get to the point where they shush him without ever hearing what he has to say. This is a big disadvantage after he finds a five-legged frog in the pond in his backyard and tries to a) save the frog's life and then b) wants to find out why the frog died so he can save the tadpoles living in the marsh behind his house. His teacher won't let him explain that his frog is sick and needs to be taken out of the terrarium in the classroom; his Mom doesn't want the dead frog preserved in her refrigerator, and he is soon in trouble with everyone for making a ruckus that brings down the worst punishment of all on the whole school: SILENT LUNCH. With the eventual support of his classmates, Josh finally gets enough people to listen so that Gorfman T.'s life will not have been in vain. A fun, low-key story with much to say in a not-too-heavy-handed way about children, grown-ups, and the hazards of being a frog in the modern world.

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