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There’s a Frog in My Throat! 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me

Putting on the dog, singing like a canary, and just plain horsing around, this lively language arts lesson has a whale of a time looking the gift horse straight in the mouth. While one shudders to contemplate the brainstorming sessions that must have gestated this volume, they certainly produced a rare and useful bird. Loosely, very loosely, organizing the chosen idioms by such topics as “Around the House” and “On the Wing,” Leedy and Street pack each double-page spread with twenty-odd turns of phrase, defining each briefly and clearly and furthering the definitions – and the fun – with a loony (oops!) illustrative array of portraits, scenes, and mini-dramas that also provide textual and graphic cohesion. A beehive (“a busy place”), for example, is home to two bees who tell a bear to buzz off (“Go away!”) and “It’s none of your beeswax!” (“It’s none of your business!”). Just below, a little briefcase-toting man with bee wings makes a beeline for a flower, explaining, “I’m as busy as a bee.” (“I have a lot to do”). Each spread is as busy as a bee and a beaver, but always clear and inventive in segueing from one phrase to the next. An index of the animals metaphor-ized is appended for those who insist on curricular usefulness; while you’re at it, bring the book down the hall to the adult ESL classes, too. Primary, Intermediate)
--The Horn Book


As the subtitle indicates, this is a compendium of familiar and not-so-familiar sayings that have to do with animals, from "we’re off like a herd of turtles" to "the tail end." The design is purposely busy, packing all 440 sayings into 48 meager pages by allowing them to spill onto the title page, index, and colophon, although most are confined to the body of the book and organized thematically, from "Around the House" to "Under the Waves." The sayings are illustrated by bright vignettes that differ in style to provide both variety and to suit the saying, and frequently interact. So, "as crazy as a cuckoo" is illustrated by a wacky-looking bird popping out of a classically Swiss clock; this contrasts with "Watch it like a hawk," which features a proud raptor with gaze fixed, X-ray vision-like, on a "nest egg" filled with C-notes. Each saying is glossed--"Don’t cast your pearls before swine" becomes "Don’t waste something good on people who can’t appreciate it"--and these paraphrases very rarely rely themselves on idiomatic expressions, making them clear and easy to understand. An authors’ note at the beginning explains the different types of sayings, from simile and metaphor to idiom and proverb. [This] perky little volume . . . will provide substantial browsing pleasure to both animal lovers and children curious about language. The cat’s pajamas! (Nonfiction. 6–10)
--Kirkus Reviews


Selected Works

Children’s Nonfiction
There’s a Frog In My Throat! 440 Animal Sayings a Little Bird Told Me
Just ducky!...More fun than a barrel of monkeys!
--Booklist (Starred Review)



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