Toad Rage by Morris Gleitzman
By: Kelcy Niccum and Kim Alexander
Toad Rage took a creative take on advocating for animal, specifically toad, rights by following a young cane toad’s quest for the truth about why humans seem to hate toads. Toad Rage is a very interesting book told from the point of view of a very determined toad that contains many underlying messages to the human race about animal rights.
One aspect of the book that we really enjoyed was the fact that the author was very honest about the story and underlying message that he was trying to portray. Many times children’s novel authors, when writing about animals and their relations with humans, choose to really sugar-coat the story and make it look like all is happy and well between the characters, because this is what is seen as suitable and enjoyable for young kids. By contrast, Gleitzman chooses to be brutally honest about how toads are being harmed by human interaction through the fact that his first several chapters are focused primarily on multiple toads being run over and killed by vehicles while their surviving family members are not even phased by the occurrence since it happens so often. Another aspect that we enjoyed was how fast-paced the action in the novel was. We were able to finish the book in very little time because we were genuinely entertained the entire time- there was never a dull or drug-out scene.
We thought that Gleitzman made a very powerful statement when, in the very first chapter, he chose to have his readers witness the death of the main character’s uncle. We think that Gleitzman chose to do this because it showed how common the human-caused deaths of these toads really are. This scene is also important because it immediately brought attention to the main concern/problem of the story. It is only the first of many times the audience witnesses the death of a toad. Each time one of his relatives dies, Limpy brushes it off as if it is just another normal day. As Limpy is hopping alongside the highway he mentions, “Each time it [a car] weaved, he heard the distant “pop” of another relative being run over” (Gleitzman, 3). This quote especially stood out to us because it emphasizes how often toads are being killed by humans and how these deaths maybe at one point affected Limpy, but now are customary and normal to Limpy’s life.
Even though we really enjoyed the novel overall, there were a couple of aspects that we were not very fond of. First of all, we were kind of repulsed by the first couple of chapters because we do not like hearing about the gruesome deaths of multiple toads, let alone that fact that the main character physically stacks up the corpses of his relatives in his bedroom. Also, a downside to the fact that the action was so fast throughout the novel, we noticed that there were many holes in the plot. For example, towards the end of the novel, readers learn that a group of animals are planning to create “Animal Games” to compete against humans, but as soon as the toads learned that they were not able to participate in them, that whole section of the plot was completely dropped.
Toad Rage by Morris Gleitzman
Random House, 2004