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Reviews (by Author)

Reviews (by Title)


Title:  Oliver, the Frog That Couldn’t Croak

Author:  Jan E. Culbertson

Publisher:  Xlibris

Reviewer: Jeff Edwards – AAA Member

Oliver, the Frog That Couldn’t Croak is the charming story of a little frog’s search for family, identity, and acceptance.

Oliver is a tree frog. He lives with his mother and father near the top of a very tall tree. His life seems perfect until a storm comes along and changes everything. The branch on which Oliver and his family live is struck by lightning. The frogs are separated as they tumble through the air toward the ground. Oliver falls into a bird’s nest that contains a mother bird and her two eggs.

When the eggs hatch, the mother bird treats Oliver as one of her own babies. He has no feathers, and he looks quite different from her other children, but the mother bird feeds him and cares for him without hesitation. Oliver — who has no idea where his own parents have gone — is accepted as a member of the bird family. Living alongside his fellow nestlings, he learns to chirp like a bird. After a while, he completely forgets how to croak. When he realizes that he has forgotten, he begins to cry. If he can’t call to other frogs in his own language, he’ll never find his mother and father again. But through his doubts and his fears, the mother bird continues to love him and care for him.

At last, it’s time for the baby birds to take their first flight. The mother bird urges her other two children out of the nest, but she doesn’t try to make Oliver fly. He has no wings, and she understands that he will never fly. She doesn’t care. She loves him just the way he is.

When Oliver is ready, he leaves the nest on his own, climbing and hopping through the branches of the tree like the frog he was born to be. He rejoins the community of frogs, but he never does find his lost parents. Instead, he meets a girl tree frog who loves his chirp, and doesn’t mind at all that he doesn’t croak like other frogs.

Oliver, the Frog That Couldn’t Croak is clever and entertaining, with engaging illustrations that are sure to delight young children. The messages of tolerance and self discovery are woven so seamlessly into the story that the average child will never realize that there might be something important hidden alongside the fun.

Winner of the 2009 American Authors Association's Silver Quill Award!


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