The Silly Looking Thing
Written and Illustrated by Eva M. Sakmar-Sullivan
Itsy Bitsy Boy Frog isn’t very nice, but he learns an important lesson in kindness in The Silly Looking Thing by Eva M. Sakmar-Sullivan. Itsy Bitsy Boy Frog is looking for a friend to play with. Day after day he runs to the pond hoping to find another frog to befriend, but all he finds each day is a friendly little creature who continues to ask if he’d like to play. Even though he’s lonely and is looking for a friend, each time the creature asks him to play, Itsy Bitsy Boy Frog gives the same rude answer “No way! I’m a frog and you’re a silly looking thing!” It isn’t until Itsy Bitsy Boy Frog quits going to the pond that his parents get to the bottom of their sons rude behavior.
Mama and Papa Frog teach their son that he could still enjoy playing with someone who looks different than him. Itsy Bitsy Boy frog apologizes for his rude behavior and the next day heads to the pond to find the friendly creature he was so rude to. When he arrives he isn’t able to find the little creature, but instead finds a small little frog who looks just like him. Turns out, this little creature was a tadpole who has now developed into his grown-up frog body. Long and short of it, Itsy Bitsy Boy Frog learns to not judge by outward appearances. The author drives home the point by giving the little creature a forgiving, friendly heart, even after being treated so unkindly. What elementary age child hasn’t experienced this situation from either side of the pond?
While the drawings are fairly cartoonish in style, they are fun and a little zany with Mama and Papa Frogs dressed like a couple out of the sixties. This book is full of incredibly long tongues and frog legs, with big eyes and exaggerated facial expressions. It’s sure to hold the attention of any second grade reader. The author, Sakmar-Sullivan, has a personal love of frogs and other amphibians, which gives this book some extra interest. She’s included the life cycle of a frog on the last couple pages, including drawings that will be an extra bit of interest for kids who are just learning how frogs develop.
This would be a fun book to use as a sort of unit study in the second grade classroom. Reading the book each day for a week, while focusing on learning one main point a day, is the best way to squeeze out every bit of educational value. One day could be character development (kindness or even prejudice), another science (frog’s life cycle), art (drawing a simple frog or pond drawing), language (grammar or punctuation- since there is so much used in this book), and round it out with another science day (pond life habitat). However you decide to use this book it will surely be enjoyed!