A familiar cumulative folk song gets a mild tweak.
This time, the setting is a lake floor. “There’s a hole in the log on the bottom of the lake”; “There’s a frog in the hole in the log on the bottom of the lake”; and so on. It’s better sung than recited, and musical notation can be found at the end. On the frog is a hair (one corkscrew curl growing upward), and then a fly on the hair, and then a gnat on the fly. The underwater atmosphere is dark green, with brown, beige, and lighter greens. Long’s acrylic-and–colored-pencil illustrations are an odd mix of styles: The frog is cartoony, especially when grinning and licking its lips in anticipation of a fly-gnat feast, whereas members of a school of goldfish are delicate and luminescent. The climax is a sudden “uh-oh. Chomp, snap, gulp!”—with an intriguing partial ambiguity about exactly who gets chomped. Throughout, a tiny snail and turtle provide wry counterpoint to the verse’s formal structure. The turtle offers commentary, sometimes amusing (when the song uses the lyric “hole,” he asks, “A whole what? It just looks empty to me”), sometimes confusing (he punnily grumps that someone must be “too cool for school” when, at that moment, the accused snail is joining a school of fish), and slapstick humor (“Dial 911! Turtle on its back! Emergency! Turtle freaking out!”).
A serviceable contribution to cumulative-song collections or surprise-ending collections. (musical notation, song lyrics) (Picture book. 3-7)