Publishers Weekly. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 7, 2003

Everyone else is out jogging, Finklehopper Frog notices one morning, and he decides to join in “I will buy a jogging suit./ I'll get myself a jazzy one,/ a dandy one, a beaut!” As he struggles to transform his hop into a jog, the other animals snicker at his contortions and his eye-popping apparel. “Didja get it at a sale?” sneers Yowlereen, a catty feline jogger. Although hurt, the frog perseveres and befriends a rabbit— a fellow hopper— who praises his suit and his moves: “Keep on doing/ what you always do/ 'cause hopping is the way to go,/ the perfect way for you.” Except for a peculiarly rhymeless ending [Brian Lies note: the line breaks in the second edition have changed, fixing this situation], Livingston’s rhythms echo Finklehopper's bounce and blithe spirit, and encourage youngsters to be happy with their own best efforts. Lies’s (Hamlet and the Magnificent Sandcastle) bright, crisp acrylics boost the energy level, illustrating the animals with rib-tickling human trappings, among them a frog in a fez, a worm on a pogo stick, a tadpole being pushed in a glass tank stroller. Framing this pro-fitness story, the endpapers display Finklehopper stretching out, and a title page shows the hero reading a newspaper headlined: “Exercise Found to Promote Hoppiness.” Ages 3-7 (May)

Booklist. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . April 1, 2003

K-Gr. 2. The premise isn’t new, but the fresh art and animal cast will appeal to children learning about self-esteem. In his urgency to join the fitness trend, Finklehopper buys a silly looking outfit and takes up jogging, even though he’s used to hopping. The other animals laugh at him. Finally, another hopper, Ruby Rabbit, encourages Finklehopper to quit trying to be like everyone else and just HOP. The acrylic-paint illustrations in bright, summery colors feature comical images of animals tricked out in exercise garb: an alligator wears headphones, a turtle sports a baseball cap, a cat jogs in a pink tracksuit. They all run on their hind legs like humans, and the blend of animal and human traits is clever and funny: the chimp who runs the clothing store where Finklehopper buys his jogging suit holds up hangers with her toes as well as her fingers. The rhythmic text will be fun to read aloud, and the story may encourage kids to get up and do some hopping of their own. — Diane Foote


CM Magazine (Manitoba Library Association) Volume IX Number 21. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . June 20, 2003

Finklehopper frog decides to start jogging when he notices that everyone else is doing it. But first he needs a jogging suit, and he selects something wild. “I will buy a jogging suit. I'll get myself a jazzy one, a dandy one, a beaut!” Mrs. Chimpanzee helps him pick out an outfit covered with pink and purple dots, and Finklehopper loves it. As Finklehopper starts out on his jog, he meets “Itchy Flea” the dog and “Yowlereen” the cat who both make fun of his jogging suit and his jogging style. Finklehopper is discouraged, and his feelings are hurt until he meets “Ruby Rabbit” who is also out hopping. Ruby compliments him on his hopping suit. Finklehopper realizes that everyone is different and that’s ok. “Oh, Ruby, now I see that everyone has special things to do and say and be.”

Livingston does a terrific job with her light rhyming text. The words trip off the reader’s tongue. This book is a pleasure to read out loud. The author creates an amusing character that kids will love. The illustrator does a fantastic job with his acrylic paint illustrations. I love everything about this book even the comical end pages showing Finklehopper stretching for his jog. The pictures are so vibrant that Finklehopper Frog is leaping off the page. The pictures are full of little details to be discovered, like the glass of water spilt out on the floor in the shape of a webbed frog's foot. The store scene even has signs like “Really Big + Tall” and “Really Short + Small” which has a little turtle browsing the rack with her four baby turtles escaping from the baby carriage. Finklehopper is the main character of this book, but there are many other colourful animals that draw the reader’s eye. This is a book that kids will want to read over and over again.

Finklehopper Frog is a highly recommended purchase for public and school libraries. This title would also make a great gift choice and perfect pick for storytimes. I’ll be buying a copy of this book for every kid I know and watching for more titles by this terrific writing and illustrating duo!

Highly Recommended.

Catherine Hoyt is a volunteer at one of the most northern public libraries in Canada. © the Manitoba Library Association.