Scritch Scratch Scraww Plop!
Enchanted Lion Books, 2015
Hbk, 40pp, $AUD 21.99; EAN 9781592701797
Translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick.
The sun has set across the pond and a little frog named Jeremy is feeling sad. He is about to be tucked in to bed by his loving mother, and Jeremy doesn’t sleep well. He goes through his nightly routine: wash hands and face, brush teeth, put on pyjamas (mother doing up his buttons), toilet and then…the dread begins. So begins a night of restless that ends with moments of pure magic from the master hand of Kitty Crowther.
Tucked up and snug after a volley of hugs and kisses and reassurance from his mother, it is not long before anxiety of a kind the young Marcel Proust recalled. Is it a noise Jeremy hears, or is it just his imagination going “scritch scatch scraww plop”.
Back and forth goes Jeremy – and his parents – as fears and phantoms flash through the little frog’s thoughts. The night wears on…how will Jeremy get to sleep?
His parents never lose their cool and eventually he climbs into his parents’ bed. Good for Jeremy, bad for Father, who climbs into the child’s bed. But now Father hears something!
Two books spring to mind when I read this. One is the Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Garth Williams, with its patient and sometimes exasperated parents trying to desperately to calm their child’s over-active imagination. The other is of course The Tale of Jeremy Fisher by Beatrix Potter. When we see this little Jeremy at home and ankle deep in water it is impossible not to smile. The US edition is missing the dedication to Jeremy Fisher, but it is there in the Pastel/l’ecole des loisirs edition, along with the artist’s dedication to her father.
I won’t spoil the story by revealing the finale since there are moments of delicious magic that can only be experienced in the book, and not explained or broken down in a review. It’s about the page-turn, the reveal, the silence and the moment. For those lucky enough to discover Scritch Scratch Scraww Plop! it’s sure to become a bedtime favourite. In the end, Jeremy not only overcomes his fears, but shares something wonderful with his father.
For more about Kitty Crowther see my interview here.