By Rose Aune Bait the Toad is a collection of photos of TikTok sensation Bait, a little amphibian with a big personality. The art book will be published on October 17 by Catalyst Press, an independent book publisher based in El Paso, TX.
Bait the Toad by Kendra Powers seeks to entertain the reader with photographs of a fun-loving family pet. The book is attempting to break into the extremely crowded celebrity pet market, which is already cornered by stars such as Doug the Pug and Grumpy Cat. I enjoyed the light-hearted nature of this book, though I do have concerns about the lack of an audience.
Bait the Toad’s biggest strength is its relatability to its target audience. Unlike similar books based on the lives of pets, Bait the Toad seems more whimsical, and the author’s perspective shines through. Providing a photograph of the author and a relatable story at the beginning of this was an interesting and brave choice, as it unexpectedly established the narrator as the owner of the creature. Most books that focus on pet photographs, like the wildly popular Doug the Pug series, personify the pet more and write the narrative from the creature’s perspective. Some of the outfits and poses that Bait was put in were creative. I particularly enjoyed the photograph of Bait on the skateboard. Overall, Bait the Toad boasted many positive attributes.
However, this book does have opportunities for improvement. As previously mentioned, my biggest concern with this book is the lack of a market. Other famous pets that have branched out into photo books have already had large followings online, such as Maru the Cat, who had the number seven most viewed YouTube channel based in Japan prior to a book being published about him. Additionally, the photographs, though well done, are presented with little context. Writing funny captions to go with the photographs could elevate Bait the Toad. The section at the end, though slightly humorous, was an odd way to end the book. Consider including more pages throughout the book with anecdotes about Bait instead of this section. The transitions in the book could use work. Currently, the book is divided into an introduction, a large section of photographs, and a stand-alone essay. Revising the organizational system of Bait the Toad will make it seem more professional. More variety in hats, camera angles, and settings could make this book more interesting. The section at the beginning of the book is disorganized, though the content is good. Revisions here would be beneficial. Another concern about this book is the existence of Bait the Glow Toad in the popular Dragon Prince series, which could potentially cause confusion.
To conclude, I enjoyed Bait the Toad, though I think that it leaves something to be desired. With more writing experience and by personifying this character more, the author will be able to establish a stronger voice in future works. Bait the Toad is based on a good idea, and I believe that with more social media presence and with a few revisions, it could go far.