Leap Back Home to Me is a cute little picture book about testing the bounds of independence, while always having the safety of mom to fall back on. A mother frog suggests ever more distant places that her young son could leap to (or over), ranging from a nearby patch of clover all the way to "the farthest stars." Each leap is followed by the comforting refrain "then leap back home to me!". Like this:
"Leap frog over the owl's nest.
Leap frog over the trees.
Leap frog over the rocky hilltop,
then leap back home to me."
Lauren Thompson's text is brief (the above lines covered 3 page spreads), but scans well for read-aloud, and leaves the audience feeling sleepy and secure at the end. Matthew Cordell's pen and ink and watercolor illustrations lend both exuberance and security to the book. The little frog leaps higher and higher, arcing lines indicating his motion. He has huge eyes and a wide smile. His mother is always shown with a smile, too, and she waits with homey things like paper and crayons, books, and dinner (this last brought to mind Where the Wild Things Are, a tiny bit).
Cordell uses different colors for the backgrounds of many of the pages, (purple, yellow, blue, pink, orange). This adds visual interest, and provides the chance to use the book to help teach colors.
Leap Back Home to Me is a book that I can see mothers enjoying reading to their young children, and the children asking for it "Again!". It's also quite likely, I think, to inspire bouts of toddlers jumping around like frogs, which I think would be pretty fun to see in a library storytime. It's not a groundbreaking book. But Leap Back Home to Me left me with a warm feeling, and the wish to own a copy for our keep shelf. Which I think is a pretty strong endorsement.
See also my reviews of Trouble Gum (written by Matthew Cordell) and Righty and Lefty: A Tale of Two Feet (written by Rachel Vail and illustrated by Matthew Cordell).
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (@SimonBooks)
Publication Date: April 26, 2011
Source of Book: Library copy
Nominated for 2011 Cybils in Fiction Picture Books by: Tobin Harper
© 2011 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).