Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone” as Want to Read:
The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone

4.27  ·  Rating details ·  411 ratings  ·  71 reviews
"FROG BELLY . . . plants the idea that with some strategy, good communication and goodwill, you can grow wonderful things." —PORTLAND PRESS HERALD

"Frog Belly Rat Bone,
one, two, three . . .
the specks in the earth
are protected by me.
You must be patient and
then you will see. . . ."

Once upon a time, in a dull, gray endless place called Cementland,
there lived a very special bo
Hardcover, 48 pages
Published 2003 by Candlewick Press
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  411 ratings  ·  71 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone
Mar 11, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture
At first I thought this cement hellscape was supposed to be a post-apocalyptic setting, but then it seems not to be so I guess Ering is just really not fond of urban landscape. Although then again, it can't be really a modern, cement city because they plant the seeds right in the ground, and there are little bunnies etc. What do they eat when there is no vegetation visible in this uninhabited wasteland of trash? How does this kid know magic and is that how he sruvives? Am I thinking about this t ...more
Josef Miyasato
Nov 27, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: artists
As much as I love the art work, the language, and the conception, the delivery is dissapointing. The characters are great, the conflict is there, yet the resolution is so fast, simple, trite, and unearned that I feel this book is a failure as a whole. But it's so darned pretty. ...more
Chrissi Guarnieri
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering is a family favorite. A little boy, who lives in a dark and dreary world called "Cement Land", is in search of treasure. He finds something wrapped in beautiful paper and realizes that with a little care, he can transform his dark surroundings into something beautiful. With the help of a homemade scarecrow called Frog Belly Rat Bone, he is able to deter thieves from stealing the treasure before it blossoms. ...more
Jun 06, 2019 added it
I am most definitely not the target audience. Even when I did live in a fairly blighted area, it was never as ugly as this. And what makes the boy already special, as we're told that he is when we meet him? And why did his golem get the appellation that he did, when in this post-apocalyptic world there are surely no frogs?

This is more like a draft for a movie, or a giftable fable for hip city kids.
I'd give it two stars for myself, but it's not for me....

Feb 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
I love this book...not just the story of friendship, patience, hope and all that, but the beautiful illustrations....I choose it quite often to read to anyone who is willing to sit still and listen and have bought it several times. A firm favourite.
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
In a place named Cementland, "a dull gray endless place", an unhappy boy wishes to find a treasure. Amidst the junk piles he discovers a packet of gray specks. He is promised something wonderful if he puts them in the ground and waits patiently. The boy needs help protecting them from thieves, though, so he creates a "King of the Treasures" from the discarded objects around him. The creature comes alive as Frog Belly Rat Bone, and the two work to keep others away as they wait expectantly to disc ...more
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A very dark seeming book, but lively and positive by the end. You cannot help but draw some comparisons to Wall-E because of how desolate and sad the landscape is in this book.

I loved how Frog Belly Rat Bone was made. I loved the colorful illustrations the concluded the book. The typeface was like chicken scratch, which was a welcome change from the banality of typical books. The story was simple and effective, and it was great to see some misbehaving characters reform.

The art looked a little l
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I know this is a Kid's book but *damn* the graphics is to die for, I just couldn't pass the opportunity to buy it. Plusss the story is soo cool and sweet and cute.
Bethy Clarke
By far my favourite picture book! I remember reading this as a child and being completely obsessed with it. I took it into show-and-tell numerous times! The illustrations are sublime and stay in your memory a long time after putting the book down.
Although it was first published in 2003, the story is still completely relevant today!
In an urban setting, the main character is very relatable to many children - teaching them to search for beauty in the smallest of things and the greyest of places,
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-book
This book was recommended to me as a favourite by a Year 1 class, and I'm so glad because I loved it too. I think my favourite thing was the language used in this unusual picture book about a boy who wants to find treasure, and then what he has to do to protect it.
The boy and his creation, Frog Belly Rat Bone, are interesting characters, and the concept of what "treasure" really is makes this a great book for all ages.
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
My kids are obsessed with this book, first book in quite a while that my 6 year old has repeatedly chosen at bedtime. My 4yr old loves the chanting repetition in it “Frog belly rat bone, one two three...”
K.S. Thompson
Jul 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the greatest things about working at Chapters was finding treasures like this book. Frog Belly Rat Bone. Say that out loud. Go on! Fun, isn't it?
Debbie Deb
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
not your typical-kind of children book: this is exactly why you will love it !
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Larissa Anderson
Mar 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Darkish but hopeful and funny illustrated children’s book. Excellent reminder about hope in hell on earth during covid-19 pandemic.
Briony Dixon
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love this book! With stunningly quirky illustrations and beautifully handwritten text it oozes originality. The story tells us that wondrous riches can often be found close to us if only we know where to look.
The gentle humour used, especially, 'my socks are very moist and my underwear is rather picky' never fails to raise a smile.
Having learnt this book was out of print I bought four more used copies (I have 5 in total) just in case! I would recommend this book all day long!
Jennie Smith
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013-challenge
I honestly don't know how I missed this one a long time ago. What a treasure. Between the artwork and the story itself, I don't know which is my favorite part! Frog Belly Rat Bone was created to protect the specks which the little boy is convinced are treasure. In the end, it is Grog Belly Rat Bone who is able to show the boy what true treasure is. The simplicity of this story is both stunning and though provoking to me and lead to a great discussion with my kids about what true treasure is. I ...more
Jessica Buck
Nov 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
A fantasy book about a boy in a gray endless world filled with “junk” called Cementland. Come join him through his journey for a wondrous treasure that ends with new friends and a colorful joyous world!
I’d recommend this book for reading at the 4th to 5th grade level. Due to the pictures and the story line it might be a bit hard for younger children to fall along and understand. Maybe even a bit scary. (Due to the pictures) I think this book instills patience, determination, forgiveness, as well
Rochelle Sondae
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A great book for gardeners or lovers of plants and color. The little boy finds a box full of tiny specks labeled as "treasure." Doubtful at first, the boy and his creation Frog Belly Rat Bone, eventually witness how the tiny specks transform into beautiful vines bursting with color and food.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-to-my-child
Huge fan, huge.

Our frog belly speaks in a deep British accent. The boy is a little squeaky. The rat sounds like the rat from the animated Charlotte's web, the fruit fly's voice is the highest of all, and the rabbit has a lisp.

Read it every night for a year and see what magic happens for you.
This was our 2010.
This book intrigued me very much! While the illustrations and writing might seem scary to some children, the text itself is actually very friendly and uplifting. Lots of fun to read aloud to an older child learning about gardening and environmentalism, this book doesn't preach too much and is really enjoyable. ...more
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book tells a great story of a treasure (plant seeds) that you have to be patient and wait to see. A little boy finds the seed packets in a pile of junk. He plants the seeds and someone steals them. He makes a strange monstrous scare away the thieves. When the plants grow, the thieves repent, and all is beautiful. Fun illustrations help tell this great story.
Deirdre Keating
Jul 09, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: boys
Shelves: childrens
The illustrations are what caused us to pick this up at the library just as we were heading to the check-out. Not my style at all, but our little man loved it. Some haunting drawings but some subtle humor as well. Original and not insulting---two rare things in children's lit of late. ...more
May 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read it and read it and read it. :-)
It's Tim (3) favorite story - and I like it, too. It's about cementland turning in a colorful world through patience and friendship. Very artsy and well done, Timothy.
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
A library book sale find that I picked up on a whim because the artwork grabbed my attention. While I really liked the overall message of the story and the illustrations, which were dark and a bit brooding, the language used fell flat.
Claire Coverley
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"Frog Belly Rat Bone, 1...2...3, You must have patience, then you'll see."

This is now a family mantra which has helped us through many a tantrum.

A fantastic, manyh layered book with eye catching illustrations and an important message.
Jennie Horne
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens-books
This is by far my favorite children's book. the story and the illustrations are fabulous. i used to read this to my four year olds at school whenever we did a unit on plants and flowers. they would go around the school reciting " Frogbelly Rat Bone one, two, three......." ...more
Apr 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: storytime, pb
This might be hard for beginning readers because the font is squiggly handwriting. The pages are too dingy for a big storytime, but maybe for a smaller or older group. The artwork is interesting, just not good to look at far away. Great story to support gardening and protecting our earth.
Sasha Boersma
Jul 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-and-teens
Quirky illustrations done with a variety of media (including what I think are oil pastels in a few places!). Lessons about patience, creativity, ecology, and friendship all contained in these few pages. Very fun read :)
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Just say the name aloud. How can you resist reading this one?!

Think of the Lorax. Think of lines and colors like you've never seen them before in a children's book. Think of the fun it will be to read this one aloud.

« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Cast in Firelight (Wickery, #1)
  • Greta and the Giants
  • My Familiar Stranger (Knights of Black Swan, #1)
  • The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales
  • The Last Wild
  • Miss Maple's Seeds
  • The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever
  • The Lonely Polar Bear
  • The Fog
  • City Green
  • We Planted a Tree
  • Don't Let Them Disappear
  • We Are Water Protectors
  • Bee & Me
  • The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps
  • The Hike
  • Shark Lady: The True Story of How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean's Most Fearless Scientist
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea
See similar books…
Timothy Basil Ering is the illustrator of the Newbery Medal-winning THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX by Kate DiCamillo and FINN THROWS A FIT! by David Elliott. He is also the author-illustrator of THE STORY OF FROG BELLY RAT BONE and NECKS OUT FOR ADVENTURE! He lives in Massachusetts.

Related Articles

Nature, in Her infinite awesomeness, can provide solace even when you’re stuck in the house. As a matter of fact, the numbers suggest that...
105 likes · 16 comments