Freddy the Foster Frog: Children’s Book Review
This beautifully illustrated, inspirational fable is about a little frog named Freddy who is rescued by a kind, old lady named Elinor.It is based on an event experienced between the author and Elinor, a wonderful ninety-three year old that inspired this rhyming fabled story.While escaping from poverty and his abusive father, Freddy runs away and hides behind Elinor’s trash can. She takes him in, cares for his wounds, and showers him with the love he had been missing at home. While getting settled into Elinor’s beautiful little house, Freddy the frog, comes to love his new surroundings.Elinor introduces him to some new friends who are other animals, now her adopted ‘kids’.
Children’s books that explain adoption and fostering to kids can help inform and encourage adopted children who are struggling with transitions, new concepts, and overwhelming emotions. They are also an excellent resource for children who are not going through adoption and fostering to empathize and understand what children experience in this process. Being displaced from your home and taken to live with a new family can be a terrifying and overwhelming experience for a young child. Simple children’s books such as Freddy the Foster Frog: Finds a Friendly Family by Carol Gravante can help provide comfort and insight during an extremely tough transition.
Freddy the Foster Frog: Finds a Friendly Family by Carol Gravante and illustrated by Kaelen Felix is an inspirational fable about a cute, little frog named Freddy who’s rescued by a kind, old lady named Elinor. Elinor takes him in, cares for him, and gives him lots of love, love that he had been yearning to have. This book follows Freddy as he meets new friends, learns lots of life lessons, and overcomes fear through God’s love and through taking risks. At the end of the story, Freddy and Elinor are both able to find new motivation to let go of the past and move forward in life. A lesson that is so important for both adults and children to learn.
Gravante does an excellent job showing readers that people with very diverse backgrounds, appearances, and experiences can come together to form a happy, loving family. Because in the end, those things don’t really matter. What matters is that there is love, kindness, and healing.
I love that this picture book can help children in foster care understand that they are not alone, that they are worthy of love, that what they’re feeling is normal, and that they are capable of adjusting to the change. I also love that this book can be used with children who have experienced trauma in their lives, which has left them feeling anxious in new situations. It is also relevant for other children to understand and empathize with children going through fostering or adoptions in their life.
Illustrator, Kaelen Felix does a phenomenal job with the illustrations in Freddy the Foster Frog: Finds a Friendly Family by Carol Gravante. The illustrations bring Freddy the Foster Frog, and his adventures with his foster mom, Elinor, and his friends to life. Felix strategically uses colored pencils, pen, ink, and watercolor to make this story vibrant and beautiful and is packed full of gorgeous colors and inspirational character designs.
This book is an excellent addition to our bookshelf, and I highly recommend it for both children and adults. And if you are looking for more children’s books about fostering and adoption. Check out my blog HERE.
Where Can I Find "Freddy the Foster Frog?"
About the Author, Mrs. Carol Gravante
“Carol Wallace Gravante first and foremost, is a child of Almighty God through the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. Filled with the Joy of the Holy Spirit, she has been described as “Supernaturally Social.” Giving God glory for all she is involved with is what she lives for. Carol is a writer of God inspired poetry and loves to tell His Glory Stories though Let’s Talk Glory Stories FB and YouTube. She has many wonderful people in her life that God delivered to help her. She is in the process of writing and publishing numerous books…that being said, it takes a village to help Carol, and she will publish Glory Stories, poetry from life experience and her personal Faith to Healing bio.
The experience through the adoption was the basis for Freddy the Foster Frog Book series. She is the wife of a wonderful husband, Joe, and is the mother of 5 extraordinary sons, all are chosen for them by God, of which 2 are adopted. She has 3 beautiful daughter-in-law’s, and is a Nana to 4 amazing grands. She has always been a dog lover. She has taught, tutored and helped over 5,000 children of all ages. Carol served in the Air Force 8 years, owned a licensed home daycare, Discovery Toy dealer and her own fitness business, Wee R Fit. She owned a Craft Business, Life’s Simple Pleasures. Now President of EL4Kids.org, nonprofit. As Children’s Church leader in many capacities, she continues to lead children to an experiential encounter of the love and power of the Holy Spirit leading them into true freedom through Jesus Christ. Reading Freddy the Foster Frog, speaking to groups concerning many topics and recording poetry songs God gave to Carol is among her future plans.
She and Joe hosted twenty-five 16 year old male foreign exchange students after becoming empty nesters and Carol was privlidged to mentor many young women. She is an overcoming warrior of Lyme disease. Despite its ups and downs, good and bad days, she doesn’t let the disease define her and accepts that God told her “It’s not about you…It’s about helping others”. Carol’s “God directed meet up” with Elinor, at the age of 85, turned into a much bigger purpose than either of them imagined. Hearing in her spirit while passing Elinor on the road, “Stop, she has a story” and later “Give the frog to Elinor, put the frog by the trash can, this is a significant adoption story, start taking pictures, and this book will raise money for adoptions.” This was Elinor’s story. Telling her story became the best part of Carol’s life. See the “back-Story” on EL4Kids.Org to understand how God truly interrupted their lives to help Elinor know who Jesus was and how to trust him for Salvation and the way to God when she passed from this earth. He then gave them both their greatest purpose… to use them to help his orphans shine.”
Rapid Fire with Carol Gravante
Q. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? How did “Freddy the Foster Frog” come to be the favorite book of many?
Carol: The experience is amazing, one step at a time, through meeting an old lady sitting in her walker in the Florida heat of the day and hearing in my spirit…” STOP, SHE HAS A STORY,” and the adoption of teens was the basis for Freddy the Foster Frog Book series. This truly is ELINOR’s story as she had adopted two daughters who were in foster care and brought out of the terrible home at ages 14 1nd 15 when she married their father, adopted all of her dogs and 250 stuffed furry or ceramic ‘friends’ a lot of them frogs’….
I had a knack for telling stories and loved to tell what I call “Glory Stories.” When writing this one I kept going because of the reaction of people I would ask to read the work in progress…for example, 28-year-old cries,…” I am an aged-out foster child…how did you get my story just right…now you have me crying…no one understands what we have been through…I am so glad you are writing this story…They need to understand…” When you hear that response, you HAVE to keep going and trusting in the process of waiting on God to speak it in your spirit.
Q. How did you become involved in the subject or theme of your book?
Carol: Well, let’s see…back in time we go…..1-11 amazing supernatural Godwink steps to writing this book series….
First, a Short bio….
I am the wife of a wonderful husband, Joe, and the mother of 5 extraordinary sons, all are chosen for them by God, of which two are adopted. I have three beautiful daughters-in-laws, and I’m Nana to 4 amazing grands. I’ve always been a dog lover. I have taught, tutored and helped over 6,500 children of all ages. I served in the Air Force 8 years, owned a licensed home daycare, worked as a preschool teacher, Classroom aide, Discovery Toy dealer and owned my own fitness business, Wee R Fit. I also owned a Craft Business, Life’s Simple Pleasures.
Now I’m the CEO of EL4Kids.org, nonprofit 501c3. As Children’s Church leader in many capacities, I continue to lead children to an experiential encounter of the love and power of the Holy Spirit, leading them into true freedom through Jesus Christ. Reading Freddy the Foster Frog, speaking to groups concerning many topics, and recording poetry songs God gave me in my spirit.
To answer #17
What do you do when you are busy hosting lots of foreign exchange students after moving to Florida in 2005, you turn 56-years-old, you still don’t feel good, but you feel deep in your spirit, A God thought…asking you to switch gears and adopt teens?
You get busy … you forget that you feel old…you forget you feel sick and broken down with what was final diagnosed with Chronic Lyme disease acquired at the age of 1…you forget about all that…and mentor orphans in preparation and then eventually adopt two teens.
What do you do when you get a call from a friend asking for a ‘NANA NANNY’ for her two bio and 2 adopt kids?
You take a nap and drink coffee and do it! This is where you grow your heart for adoptions.
What do you do when you’re daily passing by an old lady sitting on the side of the road in her walker, and you keep hearing deep in your spirit “Stop, she has a story? “
You stop and find out what her story is…You and Elinor become best friends…you walk and talk every day.
What do you do when, deep in your spirit, you hear “Give your big frog to Elinor, he’s lonely”? Also, “Put the frog by the street trashcan for this is a significant adoption story and start taking pictures …it’s going to raise money for adoptions.”
You take pictures of Elinor picking up the frog you have just put there. Soon after, you hear the foster frog story drop in your spirit…you write the rhyme down. You continue to have fun photoshoots.
What do you do when taking naps you hear more story drop in your spirit?
You write…and write…nap after nap and give the photo Ebook to Elinor for her 90th birthday. She loves it. We think we are done…
What do you do when the book gets longer as more ideas come into your spirit?
and you need funding…
What do you do when you know you need funding…and your Guardian Ad Litem offers to fund your work after seeing the prototype…
You accept her help with gladness and awe…
What do you do when you know you need more help…
You ask that small still voice to provide a perfect illustrator, an editor that will tell you how to describe the story and move the commas around…Finding our illustrator, Kaelen Felix, was like a divine appointment from the start. From the age of two knew she would be working as an artist. Now specializing in animals with watercolor and colored pencil, Kaelen had honed her craft. By the time I was divinely led and ‘found’ her in my hometown…now meeting her in my old bedroom I grew up in, she showed me the illustrations that exactly matched my visions for the story I was writing. I was in awe and wonder! She had already named the frog in one of her illustrations, “FREDDY.”
What do you do when the woman sitting next to you on the plane asks to see your story?
You show it… and she starts moving the commas around and declaring that it is Social and Emotional Learning Curriculum, and it was an important fable. Deborah a. Hoffman, Ph.D. in English, became my new editor. “A fabled story with a twist of rhyme” is what I heard in my spirit as I woke up on the next leg of the flight. That night I invited that soft still voice to write the introduction, and He did. He verified that it would be used as a healing tool.
What do you do when you are urged to create a stuffed frog for the kids to adopt as they read the story in the foster home or with you at the workshops?
You approach the Sewing Center of Wesley Chapel, and they partner with you to hold free frog making classes. The classes bring new friends together to sew for a purpose…you write the magazines to invite the nation to make frogs in the spirit of the COMMUNITY UNITY OPPORTUNITY to help foster children. You invite women into your home to create the FROG CRAFT KITS for the foster children to STUFF their own frog and adopt it.
What do you do when you know you need a curriculum and need someone qualified to help with it…you need credibility, credentials….
You ask your adoption counselor to get involved…Dr. Ed Shoemaker, Ph.D. the Tampa are Premier adoption counselor, was super excited to get involved…he has plans for conferences, workshops… he gave me my first speaking engagement. “Mr. Ed’s Circle of Trust, INC” nonprofit. Is changing lives.
Q. What does your family think of your writing?
Carol: They have been very supportive. Our newly adopted teens gave insight into changes for edition #2. The younger one read it with me when he arrived 18 months ago, and I witnessed great healing of his STUCK emotions. The trauma behaviors have pretty much disappeared. J My hubby has retired now and is repurposed in the kitchen and is the main cleaner, laundry washer, and the best dad these kids have ever known. Homework is monitored passionately, and Javan won an award for most improved in his high school banquet and $500!
Q. What was the most surprising thing you learned about creating books?
Carol: It takes patience, time, patience, time…did I just say that LOL? When you determine the price…you give most of the money to Amazon. LOL… there are very little proceeds to give to fund adoptions. I learned I could use my own ISBN numbers instead of the free Amazon ones and then create my own publishing company.
Q. What do you think makes a good story?
Carol: My fabled story has a loving moral solution to the thoughts and feelings all foster children have. Each chapter has a ‘challenge or problem’, usually fear’ and a loving moral solution that builds character and heals their hearts so they can shine as God planned from the beginning.
Q. What advice do you have for writers?
Carol: If you feel it in your spirit…write it down, and then you will be able to figure out the rest. Pray and ask God for direction.
Q. What do you love most about the writing process?
Carol: My writing gives God glory…I never could write as a child…much less poetry…So this gives me great joy to write what I ‘hear’ in my spirit. Super amazed when I ‘hear it’ in rhyme. I’m even more amazed when he puts a tune to it, and it becomes a beautiful song. One day I asked God, “Why me?” and his answer was…” Because you are willing.” I have come to the conclusion that he chooses the weak…His strength is made perfect in our weakness…all the glory goes to him, and he is deserving and worthy to receive all the praise and honor.
My favorite quote of all time. “It’s not about you.” Helping and loving others is my goal in life. I love it when my/His writing makes a difference in other’s lives.
Q. Tell us about your plans for the future? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Carol: I see our book series finished and helping foster/adoptive and others. Our 501(c)(3) EL4KIDS, is based upon the fabled rhyming storybook ‘Freddy The Foster Frog’ and the curriculum that comes with it. Every dollar earned on the Amazon sale of the book will fund adoptions. I see FOREVER FAMILIES! I see lots of Workshops utilized to help foster children. The book is utilized as a ‘window’ for families to look into the lives of foster and adoptive children’s situation and understand and gain empathy. It’s also a ‘door’ for the parents to read this to say, “If Elinor can do it, I can do it! “It’s also a ‘mirror’ where the characters and rhyme make it a safe place for foster /adoptive children to explore their deep emotions and seek God’s grace. As the children see themselves in the characters’ situations, they see that God’s love healed them and give them hope and healing. I see a nation of women sewing frogs with a purpose…I see corporations sponsoring EL4Kids and donating money to buy the boxes of books to give to foster children.
Q. What inspires you as a writer?
Carol: I realized that I loved to tell stories, and then I felt the inspiration to start writing them down. There was one particular weekend when every single thing I heard in my spirit I wrote down … and it rhymed, and it was kind of crazy as I had never ever written poetry before…but I began the journey through the inspiration of God. The poetry was all about God and his love and salvation.
One of the most rewarding moments I have had as an author has been when facilitating a workshop. The teacher told me that this particular little girl would never participate in the class. Unbeknownst to me, she was adopted. The story began, and she began to open up, relating every traumatic moment. A total turnaround and the teachers were amazed… It was a true game-changer for me as I realized this book was making a huge difference.
Q. What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Carol: I go on vacations now a lot to help our new teens to see something outside our area. We have always done that with the 25 foreign exchange students, so we were well prepared to do that with our forever teens—Bible Studies and lunches with friends…playing in the garden with my dog Simba. Going to the beach is a favorite!
Q. Are you working on anything at the present that you would like to share with your readers about?
Carol: I am writing/editing a written work that ‘happened’ in the middle of the night 3-7 am from Oct 2016-Feb 2018. This was when I learned that in prayer, I could ‘hear’ in my spirit, God talk back to me. I wrote all the conversations and have been gifted with the funding to publish…the purpose of this book is to encourage others to sit quietly …encounter perfect love, comfort, peace, joy…with the Maker and Keeper of Everything and experience a closeness and the perfect love with a good, good Father which brings healing.
Q. What do you hope your readers take away from this book?
Carol: Empathy, action, and healing for the abused, rejected, abandoned, neglected, and vulnerable…no matter their situation in life. God Loves Them!
Q. What real-life inspirations did you draw from for the worldbuilding within your book?
Carol: I saw the need for foster and adoptive families, and then Joe and I were guided to forget that we are old…and adopt teens. We went to adoption school, and the story formed in completion there. The online chapter on my web site EL4Kids.org is just for parents who are thinking about fostering or adopting. It is related to the Freddy the Foster Frog story but full of facts concerning motive and what to expect and not expect. Much like the movie “Instant Family,” It is a ‘look’ into a foster family’s life.
Q. Is there a message in your novel that you hope readers will grasp?
Carol: To consider fostering and adopting…If they can’t adopt or foster children…they can get involved making meals, cleaning, babysitting, being a listening ear, be a chauffeur, giving moral support, be a prayer warrior for these families. They can also mentor/tutor a foster child.
Q. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
Carol: 1 This book brings to light a subject not often discussed but very necessary to teach our children about. Freddy, the Foster Frog, provides an opportunity to start a dialogue with your children about what foster care is so that when they meet a child in foster care, they are able to empathize rather than judge. The illustrations are beautiful, and the lyrical rhythm of the story provides a great read-aloud experience
2 This book is amazing! The illustrations are well done. The rhyming pattern throughout makes the book easy to read and gives it great flow. The message this book sends is a beautiful one, which can apply to not just children in foster homes but for all human beings. Kindness, compassion, and respect are important lessons delivered in such a fun and creative way
3 Great children’s book that includes wonderful illustrations and a very educational story
4 What a wonderful book and an awesome story. My grandchildren have learned so much about adoption and God’s love.
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About the Illustrator, Kaelen Felix
Kaelen Felix is a native to Saint Louis and a graduate of Memphis College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration.
She is a published illustrator and graphic designer of the latest children’s book, A Colorful Balloon Ride and Freddy the Foster Frog: Finds a Friendly Family. Both books are available for purchase on Amazon!
She’s also is a member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators) since 2018.
Rapid Fire with Illustrator, Kaelen Felix
Q. Did you Draw as a Child?
Kaelen: Yes, I was always drawing as a kid. I never stopped. The burning desire kept me going, and the fascination for art continued! My earliest memories of drawing included subjects such as animals, characters in ethereal places within eco-friendly environments. This journey for doing children’s books continued when I was around thirteen and fourteen years old, formatting and making my version of children’s books. Now at almost twenty-five years old, I’ve completed two children’s books with illustrating and designing the full exterior and interior of books has become my freelance passion. It was a learning experience in the first round, but I wouldn’t have traded my career for it because creating and illustrating books has been a life long dream of mine. I was two years old when I knew I could be an artist, and ever since then, it continues to this day.
Q. What Were Your Favorite Books Growing Up?
Kaelen: The children’s books without a doubt were StellaLuna, Brown Brown Bear, What Do You See? The Berenstain Bears was also, without a doubt, a classic series, and that’s ironically what inspired this current children’s book series. Eric Carl’s books inspired me immensely with his choices in color saturation and how the rhythm in his short storyboard creates a fabled story, much like the Freddy the Foster Frog Series.
The watercolor ripple effect gives me a free-spirited inside view in his vision.
Q. How did you start your career as an illustrator?
Kaelen: I started my career as an illustrator right out of college, after graduating from Memphis College of Art, (18′) after I picked up a lot of freelance opportunities to illustrate children’s books, such as “A Colorful Balloon Ride”(2018) and the latest, “Freddy the Foster Frog: Finds a Friendly Family.” (2020) The industry for the arts is structured very hard for talented artist such as myself, but the inner drive to keep going kept my intuition going. When I met Carol, (author, “Freddy the Foster Frog”) in her and my hometown of Saint Louis, MO, I felt an instant bond that I knew would bring the communities of the adopted and fostered children together.
Q. Since creating art is your job, what kind of hobbies do you enjoy to relieve your stress and help inspire your work?
Kaelen: In terms of hobbies, aside from illustrating children’s books, I love to exercise to maintain a well-balanced lifestyle, spend time with friends, and traveling will eventually be a final goal. My family means the world to me as I enjoy spending time with them when I get a chance to visit them.
Finding that time to enjoy myself and have some peace is nice too. I especially love reading a good book now and then.
Q. Which page is the most fun to illustrate?
Kaelen: Honestly, I am so proud of two illustrations, which are the zipline and the first one where Freddy gets found with Elinor, who inspired this true story. Even though one is more distraught than the other, it transfers how Freddy finds love and healing through Elinor’s unconditional love. Bringing this story has been such an honor and I don’t want to take this for granted, and I hope to continue being an inspiration for other artists to follow their dreams.
Don't Forget To Join Kaelen Felix on Social Media!
All in all, my family and I have really enjoyed this book and we know you will too! Please feel free to leave me any comments or questions about this review. I look forward to hearing from you!
* This book was kindly sent to me by Author, Carol Gravante in exchange for an honest review.