{book} the frog prince continued

on

DAY 08

The Frog Prince Continued by Jon Scieszka, paintings by Steve Johnson

Viking (Penguin) 1991. ages 5 & up.

“First he broke The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Now he uncovers the awful truth–and high hilarity–of life “happily ever after”. It seems that the Frog Prince doesn’t think life is a bowl of duckweed–all the Princess does is nag, nag, nag. So it’s off to the deep dark woods to look for a witch willing to help him out.” –publisher.

The Frog Prince knows he should be living a Happily-Ever-After just like the story said, but he isn’t happy and neither is the Princess. The honeymoon period is over and he has these froggy habits that “drive the Princess crazy,” like flicking out his tongue at flies and hopping on furniture. But she has changed, too, no longer wanting to go down to the pond being one. She is doing what is expected of her, and she expects of him what is expected of him, but the Frog Prince is the Frog Prince and maybe being a frog was just better.

The Frog Prince goes in search of a witch to change him back, but because he knows his fairy tales he dodges some very nasty outcomes. Finally he meets the Fairy Godmother… Yeah, maybe this was not the sort of magical solution he was looking for; maybe the solution is not unlike the solution in the first story. Jon Scieszka is as humorous as ever and his tale from the Frog Prince’s point of view offers a fun (and somewhat irreverent) perspective on an old fairy tale story continued…

The prince depicted in green clothes and long skinny legs that recline like a frog also has earnest buggy eyes. Steve Johnson captures the Prince’s anxiety wonderfully and translates the domesticity of “continued” life to depressingly comedic proportion. In their down time, the witches are actually creepier in Johnson’s paintings, even as they are equally sillier. And you just know something is going to go wrong with that Fairy Godmother wielding a wand. She doesn’t inspire much hope, and you know by this point in the story the poor Prince is just desperate—which brings us of this fabulous illustration of a Frog Prince lost deep in the woods and deep in regret. It really is pathetic. And I can’t help but think that the vehicle-thing is just perfect for the situation.

The solutions to the Prince’s dilemma were not expected and perfect. And there is a happily-ever-after, the kind Jon Scieszka would dream up and one I think most will champion, princess-y or non- alike.

{images belong to Steve Johnson}

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