THE FROG PRINCE

A very pretty rendering of this difficult story. Wargin has stayed very close to the Grimms’ version: The princess does not kiss the frog at all, but throws him across the room in a fit of pique. He turns into a prince who looks a little like Joseph Fiennes. The princess, who looks a little like Scarlett Johansson on a pouty day, is bedecked in gorgeous damasks and brocades in English Renaissance–style. When she sits tossing her golden ball, she is surrounded by exquisitely drawn flowers and insects; palace food and drink, jewels and furnishings are likewise beautifully delineated. The frog himself, who rescues her ball from the well and demands to sit by her side, eat from her plate and sleep in her bed, is very froggy indeed. The Grimms’ ending, in which the prince’s faithful servant Henry’s iron bands about his chest are loosed for joy at his master’s return and marriage, is also included. (Picture book/fairy tale. 6-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 1-58726-279-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Mitten Press

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2007

RIVER STORY

Trickling, bubbling, swirling, rushing, a river flows down from its mountain beginnings, past peaceful country and bustling city on its way to the sea. Hooper (The Drop in My Drink, 1998, etc.) artfully evokes the water’s changing character as it transforms from “milky-cold / rattling-bold” to a wide, slow “sliding past mudflats / looping through marshes” to the end of its journey. Willey, best known for illustrating Geraldine McCaughrean’s spectacular folk-tale collections, contributes finely detailed scenes crafted in shimmering, intricate blues and greens, capturing mountain’s chill, the bucolic serenity of passing pastures, and a sense of mystery in the water’s shadowy depths. Though Hooper refers to “the cans and cartons / and bits of old wood” being swept along, there’s no direct conservation agenda here (for that, see Debby Atwell’s River, 1999), just appreciation for the river’s beauty and being. (Picture book/nonfiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7636-0792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2000

KEENA FORD AND THE FIELD TRIP MIX-UP

Keena Ford’s second-grade class is taking a field trip to the United States Capitol. This good-hearted girl works hard to behave, but her impulsive decisions have a way of backfiring, no matter how hard she tries to do the right thing. In this second book in a series, Keena cuts off one of her braids and later causes a congressman to fall down the stairs. The first-person journal format is a stretch—most second graders can barely write, let alone tell every detail of three days of her life. Children will wonder how Keena can cut one of her “two thick braids” all the way off by pretend-snipping in the air. They will be further confused because the cover art clearly shows Keena with a completely different hairdo on the field trip than the one described. Though a strong African-American heroine is most welcome in chapter books and Keena and her family are likable and realistic, this series needs more polish before Keena writes about her next month in school. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: July 1, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8037-3264-3

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2009

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