About the Book:
Title: Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places
Author: Katie Frawley
Illustrator: Laurie Stansfield
Pub. Date: June 1, 2021
Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
What do animals do when they need a change of scenery? They hop onto the website, Lair-BNB, of course! Fritz, an elephant living in a rain forest swaps homes with Tabitha, a suburban cat. Both animals are excited about their adventure. Kids will love the format, for Fritz and Tabitha communicate entirely through Lair-BNB messages.
Upon arrival, Fritz is greeted by Claudia, Tabitha’s owner. I love how Fritz calls the pool a watering hole, and how adorable that he wears a swimmy on his trunk.
Tabitha quickly finds family in the rainforest after meeting the cheetahs. While the text makes it seem she is feeling quite at hime, the illustrations show that Tabitha may be a little confused, for she thinks a bee hive is a scratching post, a meerkat’s burrow is a litter box, and a snake’s tail is a swatting toy. Oh wait! That tail belongs to Rocky! According to Fritz’s previous message, Rocky does not play well with others.
As Fritz and Tabitha spend more time in their new settings, problems arise. Fritz confuses a decorative donut as real and Tabitha appalls a herbivorous herd of elephants by adding mice as a pizza topping. The final straw occurs when Fritz mistakes Claudia’s birthday for his own and Tabitha takes an involuntary dip in the watering hole. Don’t elephants know cats are not fans of getting wet? After sleepless nights for both Fritz and Tabitha, they both realize there truly is no place like home!
Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places is an entertaining and engaging story with a sweet message to appreciate what we have. Frawley’s choice to use text messages to tell the story is clever and unique. As an adult reading the story aloud, I enjoyed the puns and alliterative closings (feeling fierce, primal and pouncing). I also appreciated the post scripts included in some of the messages which added useful information. Stansfield’s colorful and expressive illustrations practically leap off the page and since there are a number of wordless page spreads, her vivid artwork moves the plot along, And pay close attention to the endpapers, for the front explains why both Tabitha and Fritz are craving a change in habitat and the back shows how Tabitha and Fritz both surprised each other on their return home.
One of the joys of my role as reading specialist is reading aloud to kids. Last week, when I was asked to cover a class, I brought Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places with me. The class of second graders were captiviated by the story giggling from beginning to end. After reading, I asked them to share anything they learned from Tabitha and Fritz. Here are some of their thoughtful responses.
- “Sometimes people bother you and you need to get away from them.”
- “It’s fun to go someplace new.”
- “If it is your first time doing something, you might not know the rules. You need people to help you.”
- “I like going on vacation, but I do miss my friends when I am away.”
- “After they got home, they were happy and not sad anymore.”
The best books are those that make you laugh and learn. Highly recommend Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places for the mirth and messages!
Praise for Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places!
“A satisfying spin on the trading-places trope.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Tabitha and Fritz are pretty much two of a kind, but debut author Frawley livens their epistolary exchanges with wordplay and knowing phrases…She gets a big assist from Stansfield (Poems Out Loud!), whose bright pastel settings, vivid expressions, and large cast of high-spirited supporting characters pull readers through the story.” —Publishers Weekly
“A laugh-out-loud story that spells out why the grass is not always greener, with subtle language lessons built in for emerging readers.” —School Library Journal
About the Author & Illustrator:
Katie Frawley grew up on a diet of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Madeline. She went on to earn a bachelor’s in English from the University of Florida and a master’s in literature from Florida Atlantic University. These days, Katie lives in South Florida with her husband, four children, and a handsome mutt named Nantucket. When she’s not reading or writing, Katie can be found building pillow forts, testing recipes with her teensy sous-chefs, or shooing iguanas from her garden. Learn more at www.katiefrawley.wordpress.com.
Laurie Stansfield grew up in Oxford, England, but packed her bags and moved west to study illustration at the University of the West of England. She now works as a freelance illustrator. She is the illustrator of Poems Out Loud!, published by Penguin UK, and has more books forthcoming. Laurie lives with her husband in Bristol, United Kingdom. Learn more at www.lauriestansfield.co.uk.
Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). This giveaway is open from Friday, June 4, 2021 through Friday, June 11, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST. Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated. Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Rescue at Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places Twitter post.