Frog Legs: A Picture Book of Action Verse

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to make you jump and dance
and wiggle and squirm
and leap and swing
and run and hop
until you

Author Biography: George Shannon has always felt close to frogs. "I was very frog-like when I was a kid," he says. "I was all long legs and long feet and nowhere to put them." Frogs have appeared in several of Mr. Shannon's previous books, including April Showers, illustrated by Jose Aruego and Ariane Dewey. In fact, the poet says he wrote the twenty-four poems in this book because he wanted the frogs in April Showers to have more songs to dance to. He is the author of many books for young people, including three Stories to Solve books. George Shannon lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington. In His Own Words...

"It feels as though I have always been wrapped in stories and books. My parents read to me, and I in turn read to younger brothers. Books and family stories filled our home, and going to the library was as common as going to the market. I began writing stories when they were given as assignments in elementary school, but I came to enjoy the writing so much I began writing extra ones. Then I wrote even when there was no assignment at all. My dream of making books was so vivid I submitted my first "formal" children's manuscript to a publisher when I was sixteen. Eleven more years of school, work, reading, writing, and luck finally brought about Lizard's Song, my first children's book to be accepted.

"Looking back, it seems especially appropriate that Lizard's Song was my first book. Even though I had beenwriting for years, I always felt everyone else's life held better ideas for stories than mine did. I thought there was nothing about me that was interesting enough to make a good story. But I finally learned what Lizard teaches Bear. My best stories come when I tell or sing about what makes my home. What I love. What I fear Things that have happened to me, and things I hope will happen. Things I like about me. Things I dislike about me. Things I'm starting to understand. Things that still confuse me. And, always, the books and art and friends that make me feel at home. So even though I am not a lizard, squirrel, or dancing frog, when you read my books you'll find little bits of what my heart calls home tucked inside the stories.

"My years as a children's librarian and, later, a professional storyteller continue to influence my writing, whether it is a collection of folktales like Stories to Solve or original stories like Dance Away and April Showers. I want my stories to sound as if-they are being told out loud with the rhythm of the words providing as much emotion as the words themselves.

"I also write many things few people ever see. Sometimes I begin a story but, as with a puzzle, can't find the missing piece. So I file it away to grow into another story at another time. I am also constantly writing letters and postcards to friends, and daily filling pages in my journal with anything that sparks my mind-all possible "missing pieces" for writing-puzzles yet to come.

"One of my favorite proverbs is "less is more," though that may seem odd for someone six feet four inches tall, with feet that need a size thirteen shoe. But I truly believe it. Distilled art forms like haiku and sculpture by artists like Isamu Noguchi and William Edmondson have always been my favorites. I believe books for young readers fall beautifully into this area as well. The challenge of sharing a story in as few words as possible and with a vital theme inside a "light-hearted" plot is one I sense I'll always enjoy as surely as I do reading."

Frogs enjoy such vigorous and joyful activities as stomping a sloppy plop step, flopping, tipping, jumping, and doing the boogie buggaloo.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Subtitled "A picture book of action verse," this bright and cheery book delivers 24 delightful poems for the very young. These frogs do much more than ribbet and hop! They wiggle and squirm, quiver and quake, flip and flop, stomp a sloppy plop step and do the boogie buggalo...just to name a few of their many merry moves. Young readers will enjoy the energized word play and silly rhymes. Grown-ups will enjoy the clever puns the author has slipped into several poems, too. And everyone will fall in love with the fanciful frogs which artist Amit Trynan has sprinkled across the page in each full-color illustration. Imaginative typesetting adds to the enjoyment. A funny, entertaining read-aloud for home, library or school. 2000, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers, Ages 2 to 8, $15.95. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-There is never a dull moment in these verses. The 24 brief, humorous poems hop, prance, and even can-can across the pages. Multicolored frogs with happy grins and lithesome forms leap into mud in "Puddle"; quiver, shake, quaver, and quake in "Hopscotch"; and hop and flop in the "Three-Legged Race." Some of the selections are silly; all are rhythmic and playful with lots of alliteration and some clever wordplay (although some terms such as "cut the rug" may need an explanation). The cheerful illustrations done in pastel colors are as much fun as the action verbs. These limber frogs fill the pages as they jitterbug and dance around the maypole. The words whirl and twirl and never stop until the last verse. This celebration of play and movement through language and art should encourage even couch potatoes to tap their feet and dance around.-Carol Schene, Taunton Public Schools, MA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Kirkus Reviews
A collection of 24 deliberately silly poems illustrated with dancing, prancing, and hopping frogs. The poems are amusing and cute and full of wordplay. "Uh-oh. MUD. SO? / Slide a slicker slip step. / Stomp a sloppy plop step. / Covered head-to-toe step. / Dance until you're dry!" Some rhyme, some don't, and one, "Jumpabet," a jump rope rhyme, is shaped in an arc like a long jump rope. The problem is that after a while, the poems begin to seem awfully alike. While they're full of movement and action, there is really no focus to the collection. They are not really about frogs (except for the one about catching flies with your tongue) but are about things children do, like playing hopscotch, trick-or-treating, ice-skating, and square dancing. The illustrations, painted with acrylics, consist of anthropomorphic frogs with spindly legs and arms in a wide variety of unlikely poses, but again, they become repetitive, with each illustration seeming too much like the one before. The images are amusing enough, but not clever enough to sustain the reader through 24 poems. The palette is oddly drab, with dull greens, blues, and pinks predominating. Not an essential choice for one's collection, but a nice book for kids who love frogs and nonsense poetry. (Picture book/poetry. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688170479
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/31/2000
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.35 (w) x 8.31 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Flair Dance

Hand over hand, go round the ring.
Sharpen your shoulder blades, start to swing.
Jump back two, and tap your toes.
Walk the bridge of your partner's nose.

Do-si-do as you clap with flair.
Turn the key on a lock of your hair.
Slide to the left and jump with glee.
Tip the cap off your favorite knee.

Left by twos, turn right by ones.
Grab your nose before it runs.
That's the end. Go find a chair.
You know where, and I don't care!Frog Legs. Copyright © by George Shannon. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2000

    Enchanting, smart, charming book for kids

    This book is beautiful. The poems are well written and smart. The illustrations are absolutely charming, colorful and inspiring. I enjoyed this book but, above all, my students at school loved it.

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