The Frog Band stories

The Frog Band stories follow the adventures of a joyously eccentric cast of animal characters. The inventiveness of the storytelling is surpassed only by the richness of the illustrations: highly distinctive watercolours bursting with humour and nostalgic detail, painted by the self-taught and hugely gifted Jim Smith. The stories are made more memorable still for their loving depiction of recognisable places and landmarks, most notably Jim's home town, Salisbury, and nearby Stonehenge, recalled from Jim's childhood in the 1920s and 1930s.

About the author
Jim Smith photoJim Smith was born in 1920. He left school at the age of 14, worked as a delivery boy and cinema projectionist, before joining the RAF as a radar-technician. He survived three years as a Japanese POW (partly through his skills as an artist, by doing pictures for his guards); returned home and married Mary (who he'd known for just three days prior to the war, and with whom he was later to have three children); opened 'The Little Junk Shop' in Salisbury with Mary, and wrote and illustrated a series of children's books. Jim died in 1990.

Jim was clearly wonderful with children, inventing and illustrating stories to enthral his own children, and always having the time of day for the children of others. A child entering The Little Junk Shop would invariably be invited to help himself or herself to a toy from a box that Jim kept for the purpose. The Frog Band Books arose from Jim's love of, and talent for, storytelling and illustration; from his sparkling and mischievous imagination, and from his love of children.


'I really, really liked this book because the story was very exciting. I liked Alphonse because he was very adventurous. I would tell all my friends that they should read this book.'
William, age 6, ANORAK Magazine

One of the best children's picture books of 2011.
Toby Clements,The Telegraph

'What higher praise can we give this book than that it is in the 'read often' pile? Christopher loved the detailed pictures. We would read a page then talk about the picture.'
Christopher, age 4, The Guardian

'This story is about Alphonse, the big fat frog... I like about this book [sic] when Alphonse gets kicked out of the window and when he lands in the sea because these bits are really funny.'
SuperEva, The Guardian

'I'm so happy to have found these books. They are among my son's happiest childhood memories. ... now we can share them with my 3 grandsons. We can't wait.'
J.Martori, Phoenix, USA

            'I love these books ... they are brilliant works that deserve recognition.'

'The Frog Band Stories were tales [Jim] used to tell to his children as they were growing up and he wrote and illustrated all the books beautifully himself. ... They are a real treasure!'


Cast List

Alfonse le Flic   Gallic, pipe-smoking detective frog
Brooker Lion   Kindly, down-to-earth castle owner
Duke de Buffo Buffo  Down-on-his-luck aristocrat toad
Durrington Dormouse  Feisty, blunderbuss-wielding time-traveller
Johann S. Frog Affable, always-ready-to-help band leader
Legal Eagle   Feathered lawyer sidekick of Squire Fox
Mad Maud the Toad  Mysterious, potion-brewing cave-dweller
Mole McGrath   Tweedy, Watson-esque news reporter
Mrs MacOtter   Exasperated castle housekeeper
Olly Hoot   Resilient little privately-educated owl
Shortie Frog   Incurably curious Tuba-player
Squire Fox   Notorious, evil foxy fellow
Wolfgang the Pink Baron  Germanic, monocle-wearing sausage dog








After 30 years out of print, we have published new editions of three of Jim's Frog Band stories.

Buy all three titles for the special offer price of £18.00 from our online bookshop.

Alphonse and the Stonehenge Mystery

Alphonse and the Stonehenge MysteryThe famous stones of Stonehenge are being stolen to order, pulled from the ground like giant teeth; but who is behind the thefts? And why do they want the stones? Alphonse le Flic, eminent detective, is called in to investigate. With the help of ace reporter Mole McGrath, Alphonse pursues the notorious sausage dog, Wolfgang the Pink Baron, and the ne'er-do-well badger, Nick Gristle, along country lanes and through the skies above.

View some pages here:

32pp, 286 x 208 mm, paperback with flaps, fully illustrated
ISBN 978-1-907700-03-3

The Frog Band and the Onion Seller

The Frog Band and the Onion SellerWhen down-at-heel French aristocrat the Duke de Buffo Buffo treads on a nail while dashing downstairs clutching a newly-discovered treasure map, he is forced to call on the services of eminent detective Alphonse Le Flic. Armed with the map and disguised as a French onion seller, Alphonse heads off across the Channel in his submarine, his destination a rambling cliff-top monastery. Having landed in England, his erratic cycling attracts the attention of the Frog Band, who give chase.

View some pages here:

32pp, 286 x 208 mm, paperback with flaps, fully illustrated
ISBN 978-1-907700-01-9

The Frog Band and the Mystery of Lion Castle

On his way to an International Conference of Sleuths in his hot air balloon, Alphonse le Flic, eminent detective, is forced to land in the courtyard of Lion Castle when his balloon suffers a puncture. Also seeking help from the castle's affable owner is the famous Frog Band, whose truck has broken down. Through the innocent curiosity of the band's tuba player, Shortie Frog, a chain of events is set in motion that results in the solving of an age-old mystery: what became of Brooker's ancestor, Clarence de Lyon?

View some pages here:

32pp, 286 x 208 mm, paperback with flaps, fully illustrated
ISBN 978-1-907700-02-6


Other Frog Band titles by Jim Smith (out of print) ...

The Frog Band and the Owlnapper

Young Olly Hoot has been snatched on his way to school. The ever-vigilant Frog Band come across Nick Gristle acting suspiciously, and discover a clue to the missing owl. Spotting Nick in the Gala Parade, Shortey and Godfrey Frog give chase ...

32pp, 297 x 210mm, fully illustrated



The Frog Band and Durrington Dormouse

In this exciting adventure story, the faithful Frog Band lend their willing assistance to a strange little creature they meet in the woods - Durrington Dormouse - who has been asleep for over a hundred years. With a wealth of colourful characters such as Mad Maud the Toad and Legal Eagle the lawyer, and with each illustration filled with detail and irrepressible humour, the lovable band of frogs attempt to make sure justice is done.

32pp, 297 x 210mm, fully illustrated