The Frog Bridge Reviews

(Age: 9-12 years). Highly Recommended Themes: Loss, Grief, Families, Relationships, Racism, Anger, Bullying, Diversity, Friendship, Hope

 

How does a young child deal with the death of a sibling? Ten-year-old Liam has lost his beloved older brother, Peter, to a long, drawn-out illness, and his family is slowly crumbling. His Dad is angry and at times frightening, and his Mum is just plain heartbroken.

Liam and younger sister, Tilly, are trying to make sense of their loss but are adrift without the support of their trusted adults. They escape the house to spend time on the frog bridge watching the tadpoles change and they both become attached to Fatso, the largest frog. After reading Peter’s notebook, Liam is convinced that Fatso is Peter reincarnated. He feels a strong connection with the frog as it inhabits a creek under the bridge that was so special to Peter and Liam. He is determined to protect the bridge at all costs.

As well as trying to survive each day, Liam is thrust into an unwanted companionship with Mahdi whom he calls Muddy. Muddy has arrived with his sister, Sapidah, from Afghanistan under terrible circumstances. He does not speak, is impulsive and deeply disturbed. The two boys are mercilessly bullied and when more confrontation occurs there is a terrible consequence. 

The wonderful descriptive language used throughout the story will transport the reader to Liam’s backyard and the surrounding environment. The grief and loss suffered by all of the characters is profoundly felt and will stay long after this story is finished. Nevertheless, there is hope that the cracks will begin to heal and that the power of friendship will enable a new story to begin.

 

Kathryn Beilby