Thursday, April 10, 2008

How to prevent your displaced species' genocide in thirty-eight easy steps

Title: Toad Rage
Author: Morris Gleitzman
Bookmark: a scrap of paper I found in the book with two drawings of people's faces which, despite being identical, had different names. Stupid anime!!

I recently picked up The Wind in the Willows at the library, hoping to see how close it was to Frog and Toad are Friends, something I remember from my childhood. Turns out they're not even by the same guy, but what do you want from me? I was six!

Luckily, I also saw Toad Rage on the shelf above--apparently I was in the Amphibious Fiction section of the library--and picked it up because I liked the cover. Oh, and I carry a frog in my pocket, so the jacket's description of a toad's struggle to overcome the defamation of his people (toaple?) appealed to me.

Limpy is a cane toad who worries constantly about his family getting squished by cars on the road. In fact, the book opens with his uncle Bart laughing off Limpy's worries and then getting squished by a car that swerves to aim for him. Limpy picks up the dried disk of another nearby uncle and promises to come back for Bart in a couple days, when he has dried out. He has stacks of flattened relatives in his room ("He looked around at the neat piles of rellies. Uncles by the bed. Aunts in the corner. Cousins next to the mud patch."), and got his name from a near-miss in his early days. Seeing the cars swerve towards his relatives rather than away leads him to the conclusion that humans hate cane toads, and sets out on a trek to learn why, and put an end to it.

Luckily, the Olympics were in Australia that year, and he meets a friendly young pole-vaulter who takes a shine to him despite him accidentally scratching her and the fact that neither of them speaks the other's language. He also meets a variety of other animals, mostly in sewers. I have trouble figuring out why the sewer pipe has a grating inside a pub, or how a kangaroo, koala, and crocodile got down there, but it's a kids' book, and funny enough that I didn't mind much.

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posted by reyn at 9:39 AM


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