Anna the human, Froga the frog, Bubu the dog, Christopher the worm, and Ron the cat return in the latest translated volume of Anna and Froga with seven new delightful stories.
This book is perfect to kick off a wintry season, as our gang starts by exchanging Christmas gifts. Bubu’s quest to make a perfect homemade gift has led him to consuming hundreds of fudgsicles, leading to a story that is the essence of New Year’s resolutions. Our characters attend an expensive “detox retreat” where they valiantly suffer through dieting and exercise before leaving early to comfortably gather at home with pizza. The following stories are full of similar trials and triumphs.
Bubu’s sense of superiority continues to cause trouble for him, always leading to a laugh for the reader with a bit of a lesson attached. For example, you may try to play finders keepers, but karmic retribution won’t let you off the hook (and neither will your friends, if they’re good ones!). It’s important to note that these lessons are never heavy-handed morals, making the stories appropriate for a broad audience. Perhaps one day Bubu will retain some of these lessons and act responsibly, but for now his folly is our fun.
Anna and Froga demonstrates some real tensions in friend groups in lighthearted ways, as each of the characters fills a different role: the bossy friend, the one who will do anything for a good prank, the pleasantly oblivious one, the snarky one, and the one who always seems to be left out of the joke. The shenanigans that ensue are adventures that appeal for a sense of balance—our characters would see a lot less trouble if they were a little more patient, observant, and took the time to look up every once in a while. While it seems fitting that only Bubu could lead our gang to the Eiffel Tower without even noticing it towering overhead, the joke doubles in hilarity because none of the others noticed either.
As with previous books in the series (see Anna and Froga vol. 4: Fore), this volume is a sturdy hardcover book with lovely endpapers, this time pale blue featuring flowers and insects, imagery from a picnic scene in the book. The plot in this volume is quite cohesive, as the first two and the last two stories are paired together. This creates a good sense of continuity for the story, but order is not essential to reading this series.
Ricard’s art continues in her clean and bright style, with every joke visually reinforced through the characters’ expressions and the background of the panel. In terms of consistency, background details are not always the same from panel to panel across a story—the weather, the color of a dresser and the objects resting on it are all subject to change. The stories are fast-paced enough that these inconsistencies are not immediately noticeable, but if you play a lot of “spot the differences,” you might find yourself amused or annoyed accordingly.
As with the previous volume, there are no true content warnings for this volume; the sarcasm, slapstick, and practical jokes continue.
Anna and Froga: Out and About, vol. 5
by Anouk Ricard
Publisher Age Rating: Juvenile