Fore! is the fourth volume of Anna and Froga, published by Enfant, an imprint of Drawn and Quarterly. This volume continues in the series’ traditional humor of sarcasm and irony that young readers may miss, though it is rounded out with a good balance of slapstick humor. Like other volumes in the series, Fore! contains seven new stories of Anna and her animal friends.
If you’re not familiar with the series, Anna and Froga follows the lives of five characters: Anna the human, Froga the frog, Bubu the dog, Christopher the worm, and Ron the cat. While there’s not necessarily a moral to the stories of their antics, they do teach subtle lessons in social interactions. Bubu is a boastful show-off who is always trying to look cool, whether by cheating at mini-golf or diving irresponsibly in the public pool. His character is offset by the carefree and nonchalant Ron, who puts Bubu in his place. Christopher does his best to overcome his nervousness around his classmate crush. As the shortest one, Froga does her best to demand respect of her friends, and is often prepared with a witty remark for any situation. As the center of the friend group, Anna is the balance and the glue among the friends, often appearing as a stand-in for the reader.
The stories are funny and lighthearted, both in writing and in art. The art focuses on bright colors and clean lines without distraction or uneccessary flourish. The story is paced so that the reader’s attention is guided from panel to panel without necessitating any extra analysis of the scene at hand. The hand-illustrated text is easy to read with enough blank space around it, a true bonus for a children’s book.
The pacing is generally a four page short with a two page intermission. The intermissions are drawn with shading and more detail (they look painted, rather than drawn), and provide a great transition into the next story. This consistent pacing makes it manageable for both readers with short attention spans and those who want to pick up a story without having to follow the series closely. It is easy to pick up this volume and get a sense of the characters and their personalities without much further explanation, which makes it a great series add for a library system where you may not be able to buy all the volumes in the series. The book is also a well-constructed hardcover book (with beautiful endpapers!), which is sure to be a lasting library book.
Enfant rates this as juvenile fiction, and the pacing and vocabulary would make it a fitting pick for elementary school readers. However, if you’re familiar with Drawn and Quarterly, you’ll know that older readers would be able to appreciate the humor as well. The style and pacing would appeal greatly to those who are used to watching Saturday morning cartoons and reading the Sunday paper comics. This book would go over well for those who enjoy media with animals who are a bit feistier than your average characters—think of the Animal Crossing and Domo-kun video games.
As for content warnings, librarians and readers beware: there’s kissing (yuck!), sarcasm, practical jokes, and mischief.
Anna and Froga, vol. 4: Fore!
by Anouk Ricard
Publisher Age Rating: Juvenile