Tuesday, December 20, 2016

The Queen of the Frogs

The Queen of the Frogs is a once upon a time story reminiscent of an Aesop fable (albeit, one without a clear moral).

The story begins with a gathering of frogs enjoying life at a leisurely pace, spending "their days doing froggy things" and singing together every evening—groak, grak, groak. 

Marco Soma uses an earthy palette to create a world with pleasing details. His illustrations joyfully elaborate on Davide Cali's story, showing household objects and textiles not mentioned in the text. These frogs write at cafe tables, play musical instruments, and wear stylish plaid caps and bow ties. Side tables with Tiffany style lamps float on lily pads. 

The frogs have an understanding of human behavior. When one finds a crown and puts it on her head, the others shout, "Long live the queen!"

But the queen proceeds to do what all queens do—give orders. Illustrations show her being measured for a new dress, and relaxing in a chair with her feet up. Soon her subjects complain and ask why they must catch flies for her. They miss their unhurried evenings by the pond. 

Then a diving tournament is organized for the queen's entertainment. When she is asked to make the final and highest dive (is it a trick?) she executes it beautifully. But when she returns to the water's surface and asks, "Was it the best dive ever?" her audience is silent. 

I won't spoil the ending, or say more, except that the crown is returned to its rightful owner—deftly visible in a silhouette reflected on the water. And all the frogs live happily ever after, catching their own flies and singing their favorite song together on summer evenings—groak, grak, groak.

Davide Caliillustration by Marco Soma

Coming  3/20/2017    36 pages   
Ages 4 to 9     ISBN: 978-0-8028-5481-038 

No comments: