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Resa Ostrove with her book “Freddie’s Problem.”



By Rhonda J. Prepes, P. Eng.

A children’s book “Freddie’s Problem” by Winnnipeg’s Resa Ostrove, a long-time Jewish educator, has been short listed for the McNally Robinson Book of the Year for Young People Award (Younger Category.)

Ostrove’s character Freddie is a frog who eats too many flies ( 100 of them to be exact) and gets an army of gas bubbles in his tummy. He turns to his friends for help in an effort to relieve the torturous gas. He seeks assistance form his friend Fiona (a fish), Dirwood (a duck), Synjin (a snake), and Oliver (an owl). Freddie’s Problem is a story about learning from the choices we make.

Freddie's ProblemAlthough Ostrove has written many poems and short stories, “Freddie’s Problem” is Ostrove’s first published book.

‘It is an amazing honour to be nominated for this award,” an excited Ostrove told the Winnipeg Jewish Review.

The book, which has captivated a wide audience of children from kindergarten to grade five,  is  charmingly illustrated by the award winning Manitoba cartoon animator, Jason Doll. Doll’s  full page colour pictures make it come to life.

The McNally awards ceremony will take place on April 25, 2010, and the winner will receive a prize of $2,500.

Ostrove’s book has also been chosen to be considered for the Forrest of Reading Program sponsored by the Ontario Library Association.

Ostrove told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that her book began as a bedtime story that she made up for her middle son  Zach some 24 years ago, when he was about age three.

Ostrove contacted a publisher at the time, but  she was told “it was not realistic for a frog to have digestive problems,” and  accordingly she didn’t pursue it further.

She forgot about the book and moved on with her teaching career which started at  Winnipeg’s Ramah Hebrew School in 1976. She also worked at Talmud Torah and the Gray Academy where she has taught grades three to seven, before retiring from teaching in 2009.

In the summer of 2008, Ostrove stumbled upon her original story and reworked some minor details in it.

“I gave him gas and it worked”, Ostrove said.

She now found a publisher who loved everything about “Freddie’s Problem”. Her book has been published by the Manitoba children’s book publisher Peanut Butter Press, and was  launched on September 23, 2009.

In describing her  love of writing, Ostrove noted, “I am an eclectic writer. Growing up reading beautiful fairy tales and folk tales, I naturally gravitate towards the very genres that enchanted me the most. I don’t write for the financial rewards. What motivates me is the sheer pleasure of writing and reading what I write.”

She added, “I am a poet by nature, but I also enjoy oral story telling. I like to write old fashioned folk tales with a modern twist.”

Resa and her son Matthew
Resa and her son Matthew at the
book signing.
On March 21, 2010, Ostrove had a book signing at McNally Robinson at the Grant Park location, where dozens of children and adults turned out to get their copies autographed by the author.

Ostrove is married, has three sons ages, 30, 27, and 22 as well as two dogs.  She is currently working on a children’s novel.

As for a sequel to ‘Freddie’s Problem,” Ostrove said, “I never had any intention of writing any other Freddie stories, but true to the character of all writers, an idea popped into my head about a sequel that I will write in the future. No hints about the subject matter for now, you’ll just have to wait and see.”


Rhonda Prepes Rhonda Prepes is an engineer, educator, mother, and writer in Winnipeg.


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