The North Adams Transcript praises “Anna and Froga”

Children’s books that behave badly

North Adams Transcript    |    John Seven    |    August 10, 2012

“Anna and Froga: Want a Gumball?” by Anouk Ricard (D and Q)
The multi-talented French cartoonist Anouk Ricard — also a filmmaker and musician — has several volumes featuring these characters available in her home country, and this English-language debut will not only alert you to what we’ve been missing out on, but make you demand access to the other volumes immediately. Ricard mixes a child-like playfulness in her characters and situations with a grown-up sense of satire that creates little stories that say so much. Anna is a girl, Froga is a frog and Bubu the dog and Ron the Cat are their friends, with a couple worms on the edge of their circle, and Ricard’s stories about them revolve mix moments of absurdity in with a character study of sorts, on such a level that a kid will love the dialogue and action immediately and probably find it all sticks with them well into adulthood, like much of the best children’s literature. Some of the highlights include a search for a missing worm, the friends’ encounter with a justifiably annoyed tuna at the beach and a disastrous art opening that examines the rage induced by plagiarism — and all are hilarious and charming.
In between stories, Richard offers more fleshed-out illustrations of her characters in related incidents that just adds depth to the book, both in art richness and character.

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