The Frog House

The Frog House

4.0 1
by Mark Taylor, Barbara Garrison

Fresh as the first daffodil of spring, here is a story about finding a new home and new friends. A tiny tree frog sees a family put a special apple-shaped birdhouse in his tree. The frog has never seen a bird live in an apple, so he thinks it must be a house for a frog. On a whim, he moves in, then welcomes one curious new visitor after another. Never has life been


Fresh as the first daffodil of spring, here is a story about finding a new home and new friends. A tiny tree frog sees a family put a special apple-shaped birdhouse in his tree. The frog has never seen a bird live in an apple, so he thinks it must be a house for a frog. On a whim, he moves in, then welcomes one curious new visitor after another. Never has life been so exciting! Stunning folk-art illustrations of the natural world by award-winning illustrator Barbara Garrison embellish this springtime charmer, giving it a look as cozy as the frog house itself.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Mark Taylor writes with dry, easy humor, and Barbara Garrison's illustrations are exceptional. A note explains that they are "collagraphs," a combination of collage and graphic printed in the manner of woodcuts and then colored. The result is a series of glowing, folk-art paintings that are nothing less than springtime distilled. — Elizabeth Ward
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Mother Nature shines in wildlife science expert and first-time author Taylor's quietly appealing tale about various animals' reaction to something surprising-and confusing-in their environment. A man and his two children place a wooden birdhouse that looks like a red apple in the branches of a tree. A tree frog spies the unusual-looking object and quickly claims it as his own frog house. Soon curious birds of all feathers-as well as a squirrel and a cat-come by to investigate the odd red structure and, by extension, its inhabitant. Only when a beautiful tree frog happens along does the amphibian homeowner find the kind of truly appreciative friend with whom he'd like to share his abode. All throughout this breezily paced story, Taylor balances a slightly fanciful tone with a few tidbits about animal behavior (squirrels eat nuts and fruits; crows like bright things). Garrison's (Another Celebrated Dancing Bear) collographs-a type of print that begins with a textured, layered collage plate and ends with a watercolor wash-take on a substantial, rough-hewn look. Her compositions blend earthy hues and cheery blasts of color, just as many scenes convey realistic detail along with some whimsy. Ages 4-7. (Mar.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
When a birdhouse made like an apple is placed in a tree, a curious tree frog decides it must be a frog house just for him, and moves in. But he is disturbed by a series of visitors. Some want to take or eat the "apple," but then see that it is not real. Others think it is a birdhouse, but he persuades them that it is not. Finally, he is lonely until a "beautiful green tree frog" hears his song, comes to visit, likes what she sees, and stays. The simple story is accompanied and enriched by complex visuals produced from collagraphs, an uncommon printmaking process named from combining collage and graphics, and explained in detail by the artist. The illustrations have a textured tan surface which uses paints to embellish objects. The apple house is bright red, a crow is blue-black, a squirrel gray, leaves green, a color shared by our charming hero. Most scenes are framed with related objects in thick borders. These, along with the static poses of the characters, give the pages a mythic quality hardly hinted at in the text. 2004, Dutton Children's Books/Penguin Putnam Young Readers Group, Ages 3 to 7.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-When a family places an apple-shaped birdhouse in a tree, a green tree frog quickly moves into it. The rest of the story consists of the frog's interactions with several animals that approach his new home, including a robin, a crow, a squirrel, and a cat. The tale concludes when a female tree frog wanders by and, impressed by the shiny, red apple-house, decides to stay. None of these encounters creates any excitement, danger, or amusement for the protagonist, aside from some mild swaying of his abode. The text consists of a series of flat hello-and-good-bye exchanges between the creatures. Fortunately, the illustrations have more interest and depth than the story line. Collages of paper, leaves, feathers, and other materials were glued to cardboard, coated with gesso and acrylic, and pressed with rag paper, and the resulting prints were then colored with watercolor washes. The pictures are folksy, warm, and intricately textured. Although the plot is slight, the striking artwork may spark young readers' imaginations and inspire them to create more dramatic conversations between the tree frog and his neighbors.-Eve Ortega, Cypress Library, CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Taylor spins gold, or potential gold, into straw with this uninspired elaboration of a real backyard incident. Coming upon a newly mounted birdhouse shaped and colored like an apple, a tree frog moves in all of his furnishings-and then is unaccountably pleased when one bird after another, a squirrel, and finally a cat, arrives to peck, bite, or inspect his new home. All leave quietly as soon as Frog pops out: "Oh me! I am very sorry Frog. I didn't mean to scare you." Making prints from collages constructed with natural materials, Garrison creates grainy, heavily textured branch-top scenes in a naive style, framing Frog and his "visitors" in bark, nuts, leaves, and sprigs of apple blossoms. The colorful art may draw younger children, but the wooden writing and nowhere plot won't keep their attention. (Picture book. 6-8)

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.70(w) x 11.10(h) x 0.40(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

Meet the Author

Mark Taylor is a fishery and wildlife expert.

Barbara Garrison's Another Celebrated Dancing Bear was named a New York Times Ten Best Illustrated Book.

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The Frog House 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
With fishery and wildlife science as his main interests, Mark Taylor draws upon an actual experience to pen his first book for children. A red birdhouse built in the shape of an apple was once given to his family. In his story a family puts a bird house in a tree - a very special birdhouse 'made to look like a big, ripe red apple.' As a little green tree frog watched he was amazed that people put an apple on a tree rather than taking one off to eat. His curiosity got the best of him. When he climbed around to look at the apple he found that it had a hole and was made of wood. So, he popped inside and promptly set up housekeeping. The story's narrative involves the mistakes other animals make when they, too, spy the red apple. A robin comes along and starts pecking on it for worms, and a crow tries to take it to his nest. Young readers can be assured that all ends happily when a beautiful female tree frog sees the house and considers it the best house she has ever seen. Barbara Garrison's folk art illustrations add to the story's emphasis on nature.