Who knew a human boy and a frog could have so much in common?
Unlike many bilingual picture books, this Chinese import is delivered primarily in Simplified Chinese accompanied by hanyu pinyin (Mandarin phonetic transcriptions). At the back, English text is paired to thumbnail illustrations. Out picnicking with his parents, a little boy meets a frog and engages it in friendly competition. “I can squat,” says the frog. “I can squat too,” says the boy. The frog boasts, “My tongue is long.” The boy replies, “My tongue is long too.” Then the frog has a thought and invites the boy to come with it. The frog leads the boy to a pond where a colony of frogs greets him reverently: “Welcome home, Prince.” Due to his froglike talents, the frogs have mistaken the boy for their long-lost prince! Thinking quickly, he points out why he can’t possibly be the Frog Prince: he has dark hair and pink ears; he doesn’t like wearing green and definitely doesn’t like eating bugs. Too bad the abrupt and somewhat absurd ending (lost in translation perhaps?) doesn't live up to the rest of the story. Regardless, the art shines. The boy’s dynamic expressions morph from page to page, and the rural setting is awash in gorgeous earth tones: brown soil, green leaves, blue-gray sky, and splashes of pink. Don’t skip the endpapers—they bookend the story beautifully.
Little ones will have fun mimicking the characters without realizing they're learning Chinese at the same time. (glossary) (Bilingual picture book. 3-8)