Hardcover, 48 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Candlewick Press
"Frog Belly Rat Bone,
one, two, three . . .
the specks in the earth
are protected by me.
You must be patient and
then you will see. . . ."
Once upon a time, in a dull, gray endless place called Cementland, there lived a very special boy who wished to find a treasure. After much searching among piles of greasy toaster ovens and wet smelly socks, he spies a box filled with specks and a wrinkled note that says, "Put these wondrous riches in the earth and enjoy." Horrified to learn that thieves are after his treasure, the boy scrounges the junkyard and conjures a creature to stand guard - a scarecrowlike gardener with crooked bony arms, a giant belly, a jaunty crown, and preternatural wisdom: Frog Belly Rat Bone, king and protector of the specks.
With subtle, delicate tones, fantastical figures, and bursts of glowing color, the surreal artwork and hand-lettered text of Tim Ering’s picture book debut exude all the whimsy of an inspired imagination - and the wonders of a natural world that awaits discovery, even in Cementland.
I honestly don't know how I missed this one a long time ago. What a treasure. Between the artwork and the story itself, I don't know which is my favorite part! Frog Belly Rat Bone was created to protect the specks which the little boy is convinced are treasure. In the end, it is Grog Belly Rat Bone who is able to show the boy what true treasure is. The simplicity of this story is both stunning and though provoking to me and lead to a great discussion with my kids about what true treasure is. I love this book!
PS: Did you know that Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of the Newbery Award-winning The Tale of Despereaux?! How cool is that?! Visit him here to find out more!