In the interests of full disclosure, I have several reasons to be partial to the book I’m about to review, Catch and Release: A Fezzy Wog Adventure ($9.99).

  • I’ve known the author, Christy Eichers, since Kindergarten. Yes Kindergarten, that’s one of the perks of growing up in a small town in Minnesota, having friends you went to school with from Kindergarten through high school graduation.
  • I love frogs. I spent my childhood summers catching them on the banks of the river than meandered past my grandparents’ cabin in Wisconsin.
  • I love green. Note my new logo and the prominent use of bright kelly green.

At my request, Christy sent me a review copy of her new children’s book, an offshoot of her company, regreet, which makes greeting card reuse kits. The book is a series of rhymes that puts the reader in the starring role of imagining what it would be like to catch a frog named Fezzy Wog and spend the day being his friend.

Each book comes with a “Fezzy Friend” stuck to the back page. The Fezzy Friend is a small cardboard frog that the child can name and – here comes the cool part – then register the frog online at fezzywog.com, enter the starting location, and mail it off to a friend who can do the same. Then you can track your Fezzy friend’s journey online, similar to that common elementary school assignment where kids make a “flat” version of themselves and ship it off to friends and get pictures of “Flat Kristin” in multiple locations.

Our 6th grader liked the book. She thought it was too young for her, though she also thought that some of the vocabulary and amount of words on each page might be intimidating for a much younger reader. I thought with its repetitive, catchy rhymes and simple, colorful illustrations it was pitch perfect for the four to nine year old set, though maybe a bit long.

Despite her “this is too young for me” attitude, our daughter was especially taken by the rhyme on the back of each Fezzy frog.

“Please don’t let my journey end.

Hop me to another friend.

Use this code to send me on.

Track my trip at fezzywog.com”

And by “taken” I mean she recited it over and over again until we begged, bribed and threatened her to get her to stop.

She was also eager to log in to name our Fezzy friends. Because we were taking one on our family trip to Ireland that summer, she researched and found the name of an Irish goddess, Anu.

You can see Anu’s journey of 11,468 miles on her FezzyWog page. The site allows you to upload photos for each stop and add a short journal entry. For photos and journal entries you can choose whether the information is visible to everyone, only visible to others on that Fezzy friend’s journey, or kept private.

Since our Internet access was spotty in Ireland, we weren’t able to track as we went. But it was easy to go back and enter locations by zip code or city and country (which I like because it is geographically specific without revealing addresses.)

I can imagine several fun uses of the book Catch and Release and Fezzy Wog friends.

  • A gift to a child from someone far away – like a grandparent or cousin – who can then become the first person on the Fezzy friend’s journey.
  • Tracking a vacation with a Fezzy friend, especially for a family with younger children and an older child who can do the tracking on the computer.
  • An elementary school classroom learning about geography together by sending a Fezzy friend off into the world for a journey.
  • A way to encourage and teach basic computer and Internet skills to an elementary school child.

As an added bonus, when your Fezzy friend hops along, the frog earns points toward a donation to one of three charities you can choose from: 4H, Susan G. Komen for the Cure ®, or our choice – Nature Conservancy.

We love the whole package. We think you will too.

So hop along now, and get a copy!

Kristin Maschka

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