Froggie Went A-Courtin'
Iza Trapani, author and illustrator
Iza Trapani has written and illustrated several books for children including the best-selling Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; The Itsy Bitsy Spider; and Baa Baa Black Sheep. She lives in the Hudson Valley in New York.
Read more about Iza.
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Book Award, 2002
- Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Book Award, 2003
- Children's Choices for 2003 (CBC/IRA)
In this cleverly re-imagined version of the 400-year-old Scottish folk song, wife-hungry Froggie doesn't have a sword and pistol by his side, but his heart is definitely on his sleeve. Trapani focuses her new lyrics solely on Froggie's attempts at wooing, and sets the goings-on in a vaguely Edwardian era - a period that dovetails nicely with the gentlemanly demeanor of her hero. In Trapani's sentimental, pastel-hued watercolors, Froggie's a dapper dresser and an earnest (not to mention chocolates-bearing) suitor. But he makes the mistake of picking four non-amphibians in a row as potential makes (the fetching Mousie of the traditional song, then Turtle, Birdie and Chipmunk), and not even the flowery garlands that enclose the lyrics can blunt the harshness of the ladies' rejections. Says birdie: "I would think about it if you flew./ But you smell of swamp; you're slimy too./ No thanks, no thanks." The middle, text-less spread of the book finds Froggie in the dumps and disconsolately reading a book titled The Lonely Frog in bed. But his luck changes the next day when he spots "a vision by the creek" - a lovely lady frog, who, in a nice feminist turn, pops the question to him. The couple's sunlit formal wedding, with all the former woo-ees as bridesmaids, is the very definition of Happily Ever After. Music for the song is included on the last page.
In this endearing adaptation of a traditional Scottish folk song, Froggie searches the small animal kingdom for his wife. He must first suffer rejection from a mouse, turtle, bird, and chipmunk before ultimately discovering true love in a fellow frog, who does the asking. Watercolor illustrations, ripe with rich pastels, portray an often downcast and then elated Froggie. These appealing illustrations aid in following the quickly changing mood as Froggie's hopes soar and are dashed. Trapani includes clever details in the illustration such as Froggie reading How to Find True Love by I.M. Mushy or his daily horoscope in the Frog Journal. Despite the subtle inclusion of these mature jokes, the story is best read (or sung) aloud to small children; included on the last page is the text put to music. Trapani differentiates this work from other retellings of Froggie by using modern American verbiage. The flow of text is just right, with each rhyming verse occupying its own page and completing a new plot twist. This is a highly enjoyable composite of visually pleasing illustrations and light, catchy text.
School Library Journal
Trapani has made quite a career of taking beloved children's songs and extending the story with humor and fun to spare. Her latest offering takes Froggie Went A-Courtin' to its logical conclusion. First Mousie turns down his proposal: "I don't want a frog to hold and squeeze./ Oh no, oh no./ I don't like the water, you hate cheese./ So you might as well get off your knees./ Oh no, oh no." Then, in turn, he is rejected by Turtle, Birdie, and Chipmunk. A spread shows the dejected suitor alone in bed reading The Lonely Frog. The next page (and day), he espies a vision by the creek: a lovely frog. She asks him to marry her and he joyfully croaks, "I'll marry you!" The next spread shows the happy pair tying the knot with Froggie's former love interests as bridesmaids. Trapani's joyous and bright watercolors are perfectly wedded to the cheerful new version of this Scottish song. A page with the music and all of the verses is handy for a sing-along. A great addition to any library, especially for story hours.
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Page count: 32
8 3/8 x 9 5/8