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Book Review: G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion by George W. Everett

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How do you feel about typographical and usage errors in books? I’m pretty much a stickler. I don’t claim to use perfect  grammar, although in writing I do better than in speech, and there are times that I knowingly break and bend rules (I frequently use sentence fragments,  make up words, and employ slang). Like many hypocrites, um…I mean “people”…I hold the rest of the world to a higher standard than I hold myself.

It seems that if a manuscript goes through all the steps leading to publication, someone — somewhere, somehow — is going to catch the technical errors. Editors and proofreaders provide an important service to both authors and readers, and when something slips through, it is disappointing. I find it to be especially disappointing in books from popular authors published by “big” publishing houses, and any children’s literature.

G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion is a soft­cover children’s storybook with bright illustrations and a lesson about helping others. When I opened to a random page, I was delighted by the pictures and immediately thought how wonderful they would be on the walls of a nursery.

The story starts with the peaceful quiet of a Frog Hollow morning being broken by the sounds of construction. Several denizens of Frog Hollow decide to check it out and find that the circus has come to town. The animals witness some of the activities that putting up a circus involves, and the reader finds two examples of improper usage.

When the animals hear a terrible sobbing, they check it out. The circus lion is upset because he’s lost his teeth and isn’t allowed to participate in the circus parade.  Will the creatures of Frog Hollow and Misty Meadow be able to help the lion?

G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion  is an engaging story for young children, offering many opportunities for readers to involve listeners in the telling (“What do you think they’re going to do?” ”How can the beavers help?” Etc.). There are several benefits to such stories, such as improving comprehension and attention, and developing problem-solving skills. With its emphasis on kindness, cooperation, and helping, G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion promotes positive interaction.

Every author has a style, and style is often comprised of broken rules. However, authors are expected to understand the meaning of the words they use, and use them correctly to express themselves. G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion is a fine, but flawed, effort. Undoubtedly, many readers will not catch the errors, and others may catch them and not care.

Bottom Line: Would I buy G.W. Frog and the Circus Lion? No, as I said, I’m a stickler, and I wouldn’t knowingly give a child a book with errors, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy it if it interests you. It all depends on tolerance levels.

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