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to make you jump and dance
and wiggle and squirm
and leap and swing
and run and hop
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.
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.
Posted August 19, 2000
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.