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The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone [Hardcover]

Timothy Basil Ering
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 1 2003
"FROG BELLY . . . plants the idea that with some strategy, good communication and goodwill, you can grow wonderful things." —PORTLAND PRESS HERALD


"Frog Belly Rat Bone,
one, two, three . . .
the specks in the earth
are protected by me.
You must be patient and
then you will see. . . ."

Once upon a time, in a dull, gray endless place called Cementland,
there lived a very special boy who wished to find a treasure. After much searching among piles of greasy toaster ovens and wet smelly socks, he
spies a box filled with specks and a wrinkled note that says, "Put these
wondrous riches in the earth and enjoy." Horrified to learn that thieves
are after his treasure, the boy scrounges the junkyard and conjures a creature to stand guard - a scarecrowlike gardener with crooked bony arms, a giant belly, a jaunty crown, and preternatural wisdom: Frog Belly Rat Bone, king and protector of the specks.

With subtle, delicate tones, fantastical figures, and bursts of glowing color, the surreal artwork and hand-lettered text of Tim Ering’s picture book debut exude all the whimsy of an inspired imagination - and the wonders of a natural world that awaits discovery, even in Cementland.

Included with each book: a whimsical full-color bookmark offering a
behind-the-scenes glimpse at the artist, his technique - and his inspiration!

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Product Details


Product Description

From Booklist

K-Gr. 2. Welcome to Cementland, "a dull, gray, endless place" of ruined buildings, exposed plumbing, and things in corners that nobody really wants to see. In that gloomy land dwells a special boy who finds a treasure. But it is one thing to find a treasure and quite another to keep it when thieves are around. To protect the loot, the boy (a round-headed, neckless stick figure) builds a creature from wire; wet, smelly socks; and other things at hand. And so is born Frog Belly Rat Bone, and before kids can say "junkyard dog," Cementland is transformed into a garden of Eden. The story is both predictable and a tad didactic, but the art and the design are extraordinary. Ering's combination of hand-lettered text and scribbly, muddy, scratchy pictures looks like a collaboration between Tim Burton and Ralph Steadman (in a good mood). Even better, the book's covers are embossed to offer tactile pleasures that the textured inside art only implies. Children will skim the story, but savor the art. Michael Cart
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

About the Author

Timothy Basil Ering says that THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE was inspired by a visit to Descanso Gardens, a botanical garden in Pasadena, California, where there is a private garden for urban Los Angeles schoolchildren. "For as long as I can remember, I have loved to mix up words and phrases into silly little combinations that would make me laugh," he explains. "I’d make up songs while meandering down the outer beach of Cape Cod to favorite fishing spots, and ‘Frog Belly Rat Bone’ was always a favorite string of nouns. Then one day in Pasadena, I sat
at a tiny picnic table in the children’s garden and began to sketch the garden’s scarecrow. I knew at that moment that Frog Belly Rat Bone had found a home." Timothy Basil Ering’s artwork has appeared in books, magazines, theater sets, private murals, and fine art galleries. A resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, he is enamored of the sea and has a passion for nature and the outdoors. This is his first picture book with Candlewick Press.

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Customer Reviews

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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I'd give this nice story 4 stars, if it weren't for the fact that the typeface is awfully difficult to read. Even now, after four or five readings with my daughter, I stumble over some words because the text font is almost illegible in places. Added to that problem is the overall dark and gritty background throughout the story that washes out the similarly dark text. They really should have thought about function before form on this book. The graphics are wild and different but be prepared for your child to ask what things are the first few times through. For example, the main character (a little boy) is scarcely discernible as being humanoid. This will require frequent explanations until the child knows from memory what these abstract drawings are. Read this under a good light!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing June 5 2003
By K M
Format:Hardcover
Intriqued by the illustration, I bought this book for my 4 yr. old son. I am not sure who loves it more.
Richly illustrated, this book wraps itself around you and draws you in to a wondrous world.
The story is engaging and not 'written down'. A great opportunity for vocabulary expanding. Many teaching moments and a great way to introduce a child to gardening.
Most importantly, my son loves it and Frog Belly!
Was this review helpful to you?
By dina_c
Format:Hardcover
I got this book to have on hand when my three year old niece came for a visit this past weekend. Before I picked it up and actually read it, I was worried that it might be scary for her, because of the cover illustration.
After reading the story (while standing in the store), I realized that it was not a scary book at all. I figured that she might like it, so I bought it.
I figured wrong. She didn't just like it; she *LOVED* it. I ended up having to read it to her SEVENTEEN times over the space of the weekend visit. She walked around the house, saying, "Frog Belly Rat Bone, One, Two, Three," all weekend.
The illustrations in the book are delightful and richly detailed. The artist's use of color, the charm of the story, and the detailing of the cover make this book a pleasure to read to a child (even SEVENTEEN times). And her mom was pleased with the points it very gently makes about persistance and forgiving people when they've made mistakes.
This one's a winner, and I suspect, destined to be a classic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful story with Fabulous Illustrations Aug. 1 2003
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I have never written a review for a book before, regardless of how much I loved it, and yet I feel compelled to let everyone know that I absolutely love this one. I picked it up because of the colorful and creative illustrations and found not only were the pictures great, but the story was the perfect combination of fun, sweetness, and a little bit of life's lessons that are worth learning. My three-year old son loves this book as well and I never find myself tiring of reading it to him.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gentle and utterly charming book, beautifully illustrated. May 5 2003
By dina_c - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I got this book to have on hand when my three year old niece came for a visit this past weekend. Before I picked it up and actually read it, I was worried that it might be scary for her, because of the cover illustration.
After reading the story (while standing in the store), I realized that it was not a scary book at all. I figured that she might like it, so I bought it.
I figured wrong. She didn't just like it; she *LOVED* it. I ended up having to read it to her SEVENTEEN times over the space of the weekend visit. She walked around the house, saying, "Frog Belly Rat Bone, One, Two, Three," all weekend.
The illustrations in the book are delightful and richly detailed. The artist's use of color, the charm of the story, and the detailing of the cover make this book a pleasure to read to a child (even SEVENTEEN times). And her mom was pleased with the points it very gently makes about persistance and forgiving people when they've made mistakes.
This one's a winner, and I suspect, destined to be a classic.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful story with Fabulous Illustrations Aug. 1 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have never written a review for a book before, regardless of how much I loved it, and yet I feel compelled to let everyone know that I absolutely love this one. I picked it up because of the colorful and creative illustrations and found not only were the pictures great, but the story was the perfect combination of fun, sweetness, and a little bit of life's lessons that are worth learning. My three-year old son loves this book as well and I never find myself tiring of reading it to him.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing June 5 2003
By K M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Intriqued by the illustration, I bought this book for my 4 yr. old son. I am not sure who loves it more.
Richly illustrated, this book wraps itself around you and draws you in to a wondrous world.
The story is engaging and not 'written down'. A great opportunity for vocabulary expanding. Many teaching moments and a great way to introduce a child to gardening.
Most importantly, my son loves it and Frog Belly!
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Aug. 4 2004
By Mellon Collie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
The story is sweet, but the illustrations are really what make this book such a winner. Vaguely Tim Burton-ish, they're so stylistically appealing that anybody short of a total Scrooge would have to love this book upon leafing through it.

I read this on a slow day when I worked in a bookshoppe, and I was so utterly charmed that I bought a copy for my then-boyfriend's three-year-old son. He never received that book; it turned out I was too in love with it to give it away, so I bought a second copy for him. He and his dad adored it.

I then proceeded to recommend it to virtually every parent/godmother/uncle/etc. who came into the shoppe looking for a children's book, and at least five of them came back to say how much they/their child enjoy it.

This is one of those rare children's books that kids request to be read over and over again, and makes adults smile that goofy "I've just been floored by a children's book" smile. In the same class as Stellaluna for sweetness and all-ages enjoyment.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He Loves It April 11 2006
By SoCal Surf - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I picked this up one day when I was wasting time at a book store purely because I thought it looked interesting. When I got it home I stuck it on the shelf and completly forgot about it. Then one day my three year old found it, and asked me to read it to him. That was about 3 months ago and we've read it almost every night. It's gotten to the point that I'll screw up the story just so my son can correct me. He's memorized every word.

The story is fun, in an odd way, and the illustrations are a welcome break from the sickingly saccharine illustrations most children's books are saturated with.

I wish Mr. Ering would publish another story soon, I'm getting tired of reading this book over and over...of course my son doesn't seem like he will ever tire of it.
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