Though Mercer Mayer is well-known for his adorable Little Critter series, when he began writing children’s books over thirty years ago, he started out not with words, but just pictures. His illustrations alone gave rise to the wordless picture book and Mercer Mayer is credited as being one of the first to create the genre. Kids get to use their imaginations to their fullest extent with these books, and can fill in their own dialogue as each page turns.
Frog Does to Dinner continues the story of one boy, his dog, and his frog. They’ve gone on many adventures before, but this time the dog has to stay home while the boy goes out for a delicious dinner at a fancy restaurant. Frog was supposed to stay home too, but he’s a very sneaky amphibian, and hid inside the boy’s pocket. When they reach the restaurant he gets into all sorts of mischief! He hitches rides on waiters’ trays, he startles the patrons, he hops into wine glasses and gives people kisses, and the head of the restraint is determined to capture Frog and throw him out. He’ll have to catch him first, though!
Kids will laugh and smile when they look through Frog Goes to Dinner. Each page fully describes the situation without any need for words. One minute a man about to take a sip of wine gets a froggy kiss, the next minute he and his wife are gone while the title character waves good-bye to them (with the maitre d’ sneaking up behind him!). The illustrations by Mayer are all done in a simple black and white style, keeping all the right details and shading and leaving plenty of white space where necessary. Mercer Mayer does a fine job of telling the story without any words, and kids can have a great time simply looking at the pictures or making up their own story as they go.
Frog Goes to Dinner is intended for children ages 4 to 6 and is a great addition to other books like the one. If kids enjoyed Mayer’s other wordless books, they’ll certainly have a fine time with this one.