Where books are chronicled from beginning to end, and never stop being read.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night

An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night by Joanne McGonagle, Illustrated by Rachael Mahaffey
What is the value of an individual?

It's a difficult question to quantify and yet, a question that each person has most likely asked at one point or another in their lives.

In this story, Andrew the toad comes to a crossroads in his life. He questions his worth as a toad, wondering why he had not been born a frog. He asks his mother the question and she sends him off to visit his wise grandfather.

" 'Toads and frogs are both amphibians, but why does it seem better to be green and shiny than brown and warty?' "

On the way to his grandfather's house, Andrew meets various animals who give him a different perspective on his own sense of worth. As his journey continues, it becomes apparent to the reader that Andrew is quite a smart toad.

"Andrew thought that tasting terrible to a fox might make even an ordinary toad, like himself, something special."

His encounter with three young bullfrogs stands out more than any other part of the book. Perhaps it is because of the boastful nature of the "Bug-Eyed Bullies".

"Deep down, Andrew knew he wasn't in any real danger from the young bullfrog army... Even worse, he began to wonder if they were right. Maybe it is better to be a frog than a toad."

Bullying is not new in any sense. It exists and most of the populous has experienced it to one degree or another. Yet the fabulist way in which this author decided to approach the circumstance was quite extraordinary.

Andrew reaches his destination and finds his own enlightenment through his grandfather.

McGonagle provides an interesting array of characters ranging from highly detailed to purposely nondescript. The environment that she provides in her writing assumes a fantastic whimsy while still keeping rooted in a realistic quandary.

The story teaches children that being different should not only be accepted, it should be welcomed. The visual component adds a deeper connection to the story. An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night is humorous, educational, and entertaining.

Joanne L. McGonagle has an MBA from Ohio University and a Master of Zoology GFP from Miami University. She is the award winning author of The Tiniest Tiger, a children's book.

An Ordinary Toad's Extraordinary Night by Joanne McGonagle, Illustrated by Rachael Mchaffrey, 2013 ISBN 978-0989008808