Buggy and the Blue Frog
by Renee Smith
Trafford Publishing

"You don't have to change yourself to fit in with your friends. You are special just the way you are!"

It's all too common for children to feel out of place as compared to their peers. It may arise from something as trivial as wearing a different style of clothes or something as major as having a learning disorder. Regardless of the cause of the social isolation, Smith's children's book may help youngsters feel a little better about themselves and their place in the world. As a parent of nine children, Smith has extensive knowledge of the sorts of topics and writing styles that can capture a child's attention. The characters in her story have funny namessuch as Mrs. Smelly Cat and Chocolatethat children are sure to find delightful. Additionally, the pleasingly minimalist illustrations are rendered in predominantly bright, primary colors.

The story follows Buggy, a little girl, as she meets a new friend, Wiley, who is a large, blue frog. Wiley is upset because his friends tease him for his large, blue appearance. Buggy sets off on a mission with Wiley to help him find something that will help him feel special about himself. After a series of comical adventures with other animal friends, the duo meet a wise owl who helps them to realize that Wiley is already special and need not change anything about himself. Wiley finds the inner strength to tell his friends how their teasing makes him feel.

Children often struggle to find their own voice; many of them keep silent when confronted with troubling situations such as feeling left out or socially awkward. Smith's work can serve as a helpful springboard for parents to discuss these issues with their youngsters and help them find their own voice.

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