Thursday, January 21, 2010

REVIEW: The Frog Prince Continued

The Frog Prince, Continued (Picture Puffin)

Scieszka, J.  (1991).  The Frog Prince Continued.  New York:  Viking.


Appetizer:  The story of the Princess and the Frog Prince continues!  It turns out the passion has faded for the royal couple and they're not happily ever after...after all.  So, the Frog Prince decides to return to his frog form by asking several witches for help.

The poor Frog Prince--who only vaguely looks like a frog despite his name--has trouble finding a witch that will help him, since the witches don't want him interrupting their plans for Sleeping Beauty, Snow White or any other princesses they mean to harm.  (Ugh, why does a witch always have to have it out for a princess?  You'd imagine princesses would have done a better job of guarding against the curses of witches....  Don't steal that idea.  It's mine!)

Steve Johnson's illustrations are great, dark and humorous.  I especially like that, as a human, the prince still looks vaguely frog-like.  I thought it was a nice touch.  And I know a few weeks ago, I went on and on about how great it was that Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith could work together so well, but could also complete independent projects that were of equal quality.  But, I have to admit, it was strange actually reading one of Scieszka's books that wasn't illustrated by Lane Smith.  It was kinda like cheating a little....

Dinner Conversation:

"Well, let's just say they lived sort of happily for a long time.
Okay, so they weren't happy.
In fact, they were miserable.
"Stop sticking your tongue out like that," nagged the princess."

"But then he reread his book.  And it said right there at the end of his story:  "They lived happily ever after.  The End."  So he stayed in the castle and drove the Princess crazy."

"I can't believe I actually kissed your slimy frog lips.  Sometimes I think we would both be better off if you were still a frog."

"I'm the Frog Prince."
"That's funny.  You don't look like a frog.
Well, no matter.  If you're a prince, you're a prince.  And I'll have to cast a nasty spell on you."

To Go with the Meal:

Before sharing The Frog Prince Continued, it is necessary that young readers be familiar with the original story (and several other fairy tales--including Hansel and Gretel, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, etc.) .  In the U.S. we tend to assume kids will know it, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with doing two read alouds instead of one.  Nothing wrong at all. It's even less wrong to share this book before or after seeing Disney's The Princess and the Frog.

After sharing this picture book a teacher could prompt students to write their own continuation of other fairy tales.

On a larger scale, a teacher could use this book to discuss having a sense of belonging in a place or with people.  Also, since the Frog Prince and the Princess consider breaking up at the beginning, a teacher could take that initial tension in many different directions, discussion-wise.   For example, a teacher could mention how friends should talk out their problems or how sometimes parents just may not belong together anymore or sometimes it's only through everyone making a few sacrifices that they can find a way to work things out.  And on and on.

Tasty Rating:  !!!

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