Reece Hansen is missing two things: his father and his frog. His parents are newly separated, and his dad is now living in another city, fighting forest fires. Reece struggles to get used to daily life without him. When he loses his pet frog, Burgess, Reece puts posters up around the neighborhood. But frogs are difficult to find. It takes an unusual classmate, the boy who wears a bathrobe to school, to pull Reece's attention away from Burgess. Through his new friend and a camping trip with his mom, Reece learns that friends can come in human form and families are resilient even when things change.
Nine-year-old Reece is on the hunt for his missing frog, Burgess, in this understated family story, part of the Orca Echoes line of chapter books. As Reece tacks up "lost frog" posters and asks neighbors if they've seen Burgess, readers grow to understand why Reece is so concerned about the frog: he originally found Burgess with his father ("He was the last thing Dad gave me before he left"). Elmquist writes movingly about Reece's struggle with his parents' "trial separation," and his emotions are also evident in Parkins's moody b&w illustrations. A camping trip and Reece's budding friendship with Aaron, a quirky boy who always wears a bathrobe, quietly signal that Reece, who thinks of Burgess as his best friend, is opening himself up to new relationships and accepting situations he can't change. Ages 7 9.