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The Frog Prince, Continued


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About the Author

In college, Jon Scieszka was on course to become a doctor, but spent his spare time attempting to write the Great American Novel. He decided to shelve his medical ambitions and take a masters degree in Fiction Writing at Columbia University. Afterwards, he became a teacher in New York. Fans of Scieszka will not be surprised that he was a somewhat unorthodox teacher, who introduced his eight-year-old students to Kafka's Metamorphosis ("They loved it. You'd tell them about this guy who turns into a cockroach, and they'd go, 'No way, man, no way.'") Scieszka's teaching experience prompted him to try writing for children, viewing his new readers as "the same smart people I had been trying to reach... just a little shorter." In 1988, Jon took a year off from teaching and swapped material with the illustrator Lane Smith. The result of this collaboration was The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!. The book was initially rejected by publishers on the grounds that it was too weird/sophisticated. But it was not long before the book made it into print. A decade after its first publication, the book has sold over 4 million copies, been translated into ten languages and been widely acclaimed as a classic picture book for all ages. The next Scieszka/Smith collaboration The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales goes even further to break all th


Gr 1-5-- As in The True Story of the Three Little Pigs (Viking, 1989), Scieszka offers another tongue-in-cheek ``rest of the story,'' telling what happens after the Princess kissed the frog. Readers won't be surprised to learn that they do not live ``happily ever after.'' In fact, they're downright miserable. He misses the pond; she's tired of him sticking out his tongue and hopping on the furniture. In desperation, the bug-eyed hero decides to find a witch who can turn him back into the happy frog he once was. Successfully surviving encounters with several sinister but dimwitted witches from other tales, he finally meets Cinderella's Fairy Godmother who tries to help, but the transformation is definitely NOT what he had in mind. As the clock strikes midnight, he returns to human form and hurries home to his beloved Princess where the tale ends unexpectedly, but indeed happily. Johnson's surreal illustrations are right on target for the offbeat story. Painted in deep, shadowy colors and expertly composed, they are filled with subtle and surprising humor that continually rewards viewers with laugh-out-loud visual treats. The overall design is clean and spacious, with figures and objects moving past the ragged borders of the pictures and across the pages, matching the verbal movement perfectly. Readers will relish the pleasure inherent in combining traditional fairy tale motifs with modern, everyday objects and actions. A winner.-- Linda Boyles, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL

Will Scieszka, who set the record straight in his bestselling The True Story of the Three Little Pigs , let the Frog Prince and the princess who kissed him live happily ever after? Well, maybe--but first the two must weather various marital difficulties. She hates the way he hops around on the furniture instead of slaying dragons, and he complains that she never likes to visit the pond anymore. The bug-eyed, long-tongued prince decides that he will be happy only if he becomes a frog once again, so he runs off in search of a witch to do the job. On the way, he encounters a trio of eccentric hags preoccupied with the plights of other fairy-tale characters, as well as a fairy godmother who is practicing turning various objects into carriages. Though their coloring is somewhat somber, Johnson's ( No Star Nights ; The Salamander Room ) stylized, sophisticated pictures add to the keen humor of this revisionist revelry. Ages 3-8. (May)

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