An aquatic take on the ever-popular “Are you my mother?” plotline, weak in the natural-history department but fully cozy.
After Mama Frog lays her eggs in some “seaweed” she finds in her pond and goes off to find a lily pad for a home, five big-eyed tadpoles hatch and go in search of her. As they don’t know what she looks like, they accost Mama Duck, Mama Fish, Mama Crab and others. All of these mothers, rather than eat the tadpoles as many would do in real life, indulgently send them along with different descriptions of their real mama. Working with a palette of harmonious greens and grays, Hung crafts serene-looking pondscapes that open with tabs and lifted flaps into spacious, layered tableaux. When Mama Frog’s ribbits lead at last to a joyful meeting, her offspring’s first question is not, considering the storyline, the natural one about why they don’t look anything like her. Instead, they ask her to teach them her froggy song. She promises that once they do change to frogs, “we will sing ‘ribbit, ribbit’ together, all day and night!”
A miniodyssey, familiar but elemental, and played out amid plenty of smiles and pop-ups. (Pop-up/picture book. 3-5)