Ever feel like you just need to break out of your rut? Try something new? Especially this last year and a half? Tabitha and Fritz are a cat and an elephant that know exactly what you mean in this hilarious new story, told entirely through e-mails between the two main characters.
Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places, by Katie Frawley/Illustrated by Laurie Stansfield,
(June 2021, Two Lions), $17.99, ISBN: 9781542008549
Tabitha is a pampered kitty who longs for the wilder side of life. Fritz is an elephant who dreams of celebrating his birthday with a fabulous voyage to a new place. The two meet via the website Lair-BNB, and agree to swap places. As the often hilarious exchanges reveal, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, as the two discover that while adventure can be fun, there really is no place like home. At first, Fritz loves splashing in the swimming pool with Tabitha’s human, Claudia; Tabitha loves that the great outdoors can be her personal litter box! But as the vacations stretch on, Fritz finds himself in trouble for taking dust baths on Claudia’s family lawn and mistaking a donut sculpture for a tasty snack; Tabitha is not a fan of the dust bath or the lovely waterfall that Fritz enjoys so much. The two quickly agree to return to their own lives, happier for the journey but glad to be home.
Who hasn’t gone away on vacation, only to be desperate to return to your comfy bed and familiar home by the time it’s time to go home? Tabitha and Fritz Trade Places is a sweet, funny story about wanderlust and comfort; about the anticipation of something new, and the desire to get back to what we know and love best, curiosity satisfied.
Kids will love the lively digital illustrations, colorful and with comically expressive characters. They’ll love the e-mail narrative between Tabitha and Fritz, allowing for a fun readaloud where you can switch up voices and put your own spin on their observations while showing off the pictures. The endpapers bookend the story, showing Fritz and Tabitha, both showing their need to get away from it all, on the front endpapers; snapshots from the two, surrounded by their friends (and maybe a guest or two), back home. It’s a great vacation story and a great way to give context to that feeling that adventures are great… but there’s no shame in wanting to go back home when you’re ready!
“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
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.