There's a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake

Old ditties, songs and rhymes connect generations and are a treasure trove to share with little ones. A well-known tune gets new life in “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake,” by author/illustrator Loren Long. The picture book is the newest Baby Buzz Pick.

Each month The Missourian selects a hardcover book for children birth to age 5. A review of the book appears in the second weekend issue of The Missourian, alternately written by Chris Stuckenschneider, book editor, and Maria Brady-Smith, former parent educator with the Washington School District.

The following review was written by Stuckenschneider:

It’s impossible to read, “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake” without rhythmically chanting the words in this rousing crowd pleaser. We begin with the basics, a log in the bottom of a lake with a hole in it. There’s nothing stagnant about that scenario because of two tiny hard-shell comedians — a droll turtle and his snail buddy, who’s inadvertently zippy.

The song builds, adding phrases that focus on a frog with personality-plus, a log-inhabitant besieged with annoyances. The wide-eyed creature is all smiles when he sprouts a hair, but his attitude goes south when a fly appears on the hair. Then the frog’s mood turns light again when a gnat lands on the fly, the frog imagining a tasty morsel, his lolling pink tongue at the ready.

The nonsensical hilarity continues, the turtle and snail getting their two cents worth in until “CHOMP, SNAP, GULP!” the antics abruptly ending with a toothy gar marring any plans the entourage has for a long life in the lake.

As always, Long’s illustrations are stand-out great, but in this offering it’s the frog with his plethora of emotions and total cuteness that steal the show, quite the flipside to the fish, its menacing presence creatively softened with one last punch of humor.

Cumulative books like “There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake” are advantageous because they offer kids the opportunity to actively participate in a story, which gives them the “feel of reading,” said Brady-Smith. “The beautiful pictures in Long’s book provide visual cues that help children remember, repeat and predict, all important language and literacy skills.”

“There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake,” debuts on Tuesday, Sept. 25, but author/illustrator Long will kick off his national tour in Washington on Monday, Sept. 24. You can meet him, and get an advance copy of his book, from 3-4 p.m. at Neighborhood Reads bookstore. The public also is invited to hear Long speak at 6 p.m. the Beaufort Elementary Family Reading Night.