Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Catalano (illustrator of Sleeping Beauty) serves up this familiar folk song with a splash of whimsy, setting it in its native Scotland as a stage musical. Decked out in kilt and sporran, his bagpipes tucked under his arm, Frog cuts a fine figure as he sets off with his faithful drummer atop a saddled duck to woo the fair Miss Mouse. Things progress swiftly; Frog secures Uncle Rat's consent and wedding preparations are soon underway. After the festivities, the happy couple heads "off to France./ So ends our story but starts their romance." It's a straightforward retelling, with the real fun residing in the illustrations: droll touches include wedding guests divided into frogs for the groom's side, mice for the bride; a disgruntled kitty who lurks in the background, then makes off with the bagpipes; and, on the ship bound for France, a figurehead that looks like a cross between Kermit the Frog and the Little Mermaid. Catalano adheres to the theatrical theme throughout, presenting six "acts" (i.e., verses) opening with black-and-white sketches of the stage production, complete with props and actors, then following up with full-bleed pastels that flesh out the action. Skillfully shaded and blended, the artwork has a textured look that transforms horizontal perspectives into dramatic backdrops. The subplot with the bagpipes has a satisfying ending, too--as a wedding present, Frog receives a saxophone from his blushing bride. A simple arrangement of the song, complete with guitar chords, sounds the closing notes to this buoyant musical. Ages 4-6. (Sept.)
Catalano transforms a familiar folk song with "a splash of whimsy, setting it in its native Scotland as a stage musical," wrote PW. Ages 4-6. (Aug.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Cheryl Peterson
Frog stands beneath Miss Mouse's balcony at Grand Mouse Hall and asks for her hand in marriage. Frog's courtship of Miss Mouse has been sung as a folk song for centuries. This book retells the story accompanied by exquisite and richly colored pastel drawings. Young children will enjoy the easy lyrics and the amusing animal characters. A simple arrangement for voice and guitar is included at the end of the book.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
The song is presented here as it might be interpreted for an animated movie. With a cast of ten characters, this could be "sung" and acted out by a class, or performed as a puppet play, or merely enjoyed as a grand story. Frog was never so dapper, dressed in kilts and playing bagpipes. Frog even impresses Uncle Rat with his golf stance. The wedding celebration is a glorious affair.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-An inventive twist on the now-familiar technique of retelling a folk song in picture-book form. Lush watercolors show richly costumed characters while bordered text allow the lyrics of the song to tell the story. Interspersed throughout are some pencil sketches that show the "stage" version of this story. However, the rich watercolors take center stage here as Frog, a handsome and debonair fellow, is natty in green coat, plaid kilt, and black shiny boots. Miss Mouse is a blushing maiden in a gold-belted green dress with high collar and white puffy sleeves. Uncle Rat is lord of the manor who takes time from his beloved golf to peer over his spectacles and give his consent to the union. As the story progresses and the wedding takes place, each verse of the song is another "act" of the play with more characters introduced. Filled with details and plenty of references to the song's Scottish roots, this retelling brings "Froggy" to life, celebrating its heritage, characters, and inherent romance. A joyous musical treat.-Jane Marino, Scarsdale Public Library, NY
The subtitle refers not to a theatrical play, but a simple, amiable retelling of the folk song, divided into six sections. Catalano sets the tale in 17th-century Scotland, casting various animal species in the lead roles. The syntax is manipulated to produce rhymes: "When Frog went a-courting he did ride with pipes and a drummer by his side. So high upon his mount Frog sat, his buckled boots shone black as jet." Pastel illustrations show the animals in lavish clothing and mannered poses. Welcome tension arrives in the form of a cat, who has been seen in the background; it pounces into the party scene with lethal accuracy, but carries off the bagpipe rather than the player. (Picture book. 4-8)