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The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale
     

The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale

5.0 1
by Yumi Heo
 

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Two green frogs love disobeying their mother. They always do the opposite of whatever she tells them to do—they stay in bed when she wakes them, they make a mess when she asks them to clean. They’re so contrary, they even croak backwards!

Overview

Two green frogs love disobeying their mother. They always do the opposite of whatever she tells them to do—they stay in bed when she wakes them, they make a mess when she asks them to clean. They’re so contrary, they even croak backwards!

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two frog brothers always do the opposite of what their mother asks, until she dies and, in a final irony, they obey her wishes. "This Korean folktale is so beguilingly retold and visualized with such individuality that it deserves a wide audience," PW said. Ages 4-8. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Although its conclusion may sit uneasily with guilt-phobic Americans, this Korean folktale is so beguilingly retold and visualized with such individuality that it deserves a wide audience. The ebullient, sensory-overload style of illustration Heo brought to One Afternoon is turned down several notches here, creating a busy, funny, yet delicate backdrop in oil and pencil. The story focuses on two frog brothers who always do the opposite of what their beleaguered mother asksthey even croak backward. Well aware of her sons' contrariness, the mother, dying and wishing to be buried on the sunny side of a hill, tells them, "Please bury me in the shade by the stream." Ironically, this time they obey and bury her by the stream. When it rains, they beg the stream not to wash their mother's grave away, "and ever since then, whenever, it rains, green frogs sit by streams and cry." This is a strong lesson in obedience, but deftly rendered with a light touch. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
Stephanie Zvirin
What begins as a cheerful tale of naughtiness based on a Korean folktale (no notes are included) ends with a rather startling surprise. Crisp, exaggerated, rather sophisticated artwork, somewhat reminiscent of Lane Smith's style, depicts a pair of ebullient, contrary frogs, who refuse even to croak correctly. Their long-suffering mother knows that the best way to get them to obey is to request the opposite of what she wants. A problem arises, however, when her sons decide, in deference to their mother's memory, to follow her deathbed instructions to the letter. The story seems somewhat unbalanced--funny at the start, almost gloomy at the close, notwithstanding the legacy the frog children leave behind: "in Korea, children who don't listen to their mother are called chung-gaeguri or green frogs." But the artwork is dynamic--from the initial, lively double-page spreads depicting the antics of the naughty duo to the subdued illustrations of the tearful brothers begging the stream not to wash their mother's grave away.
Kirkus Reviews
From a Korean folktale, the story of two frogs who always do the opposite of what their mother tells them. When it's time to wake up, they don't; when it's time to eat duckweed soup, they won't; when it's time to clean up, they make a mess; when it's time to be quiet, they start croaking. Their mother's dying wish is expressed carefully: So that she will be buried on the sunny side of the hill, she purposely asks her sons to bury her in the shade by the stream. Regretful of their past behavior, the sons obey her wish, which is why each time the stream threatens to flood her grave, they sit by the waters and weep. It's also why naughty children in Korea are called "green frogs."

Heo (Father's Rubber Shoes?, 1995) provides a gleefully fatalistic retelling, but the writing is surprisingly wooden. The magnificently eccentric illustrations, full of tortured proportions and twisted perspectives, depict three ungainly frogs surrounded by a bizarre variety of bugs, plants, wallpaper patterns, and little squiggles, all in an idiosyncratic palette of grimy green mixed with beige, pink, and blue.

From the Publisher

"Instant child appeal. Heo adds to the fun with her unique illustrations." Horn Book, Starred

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547529752
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/25/2004
Sold by:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
32
Lexile:
520L (what's this?)
File size:
12 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Yumi Heo was born and raised in Korea but now lives near New York City. She remembers being told the story of the green frogs when she, a little girl in Korea, had disobeyed her mother.

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