Customer Review

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Charmer!, August 30, 2003
This review is from: A Frog Prince (Paperback)
Everyone knows the story of the Frog Prince, and the idea of "kissing a frog to make a prince" is a well-loved verse around the world. But did you ever think that the spoilt Princess, who first broke her promise to the frog who rescued her ball and then threw him across the room in disgust before he changed into a prince was a little undeserving of her happily ever after? (Some versions of the story have the princess kissing the frog to change him back, but the throwing against the wall is the original and correct tale).
Alix Berenzy thought so, and resolved to retell and reillustrate the traditional tale from the frog's point of view. Sure enough, it starts on familiar territory: the Princess drops her golden ball into the pond and the frog retrieves it for her, on the condition that the Princess let him go with her into her palace and remain her companion. The ball is fetched, but the Princess regrets her decision to have the frog as a house guest, and only goes through with her promise on the instruction of her father.
But here is where the tale changes - hearing a riddle from the singing moon, the frog decides to go on a quest to find a *true* princess - one that will love him for his inner beauty. The king obliges, shamed by his daughter's ingratitude, and grants him royal clothes and a white pony. Following the sun by day and the moon by night, the frog begins his quest, traversing dangerous trolls, wicked witches, tangled woods and misty oceans to reach the End of the World and the Princess that awaits. Alix Berenzy creates a great twist in the tale by describing the beauty of the Princess in the castle, but making the reader turn the page to see her appearence on the following page - and that appearence is not what you'd expect!
The story is a lovely retelling of the traditional tale, undated somewhat for today's standards of teaching kids to look beyond a person's appearence to the soul within. This sentiment is the theme of the entire book, but with side plots of escapes and quests, Alix Berenzy thankfully does not jam it down our throats, and it is shared without overly dramatising it. The illustrations are of course stunning. As a children's illustrator Alix Berenzy is right up there with the masters: K. Y. Craft, Ruth Sanderson and Alan Lee - her paintings especially have a brightness and vividness to them that make them seem to leap out of the pages. She is a master at creating light - whether it be the light filtering through the woods, creating a path way of light, or the beautiful orange colours of the setting sun on the ocean as the frog prince crosses it on the back of a turtle. This is definitely a must have children's book, especially if you're a fan of the frog prince tale (try the Canon Movietale "The Frog Prince" starring Helen Hunt and Aileen Quinn) or moralistic stories of finding love below the surface (there are lots of similiarities here to the movie "Shrek" - even the colour green!) Highly recommended.
"Little green frog alone at night,
Beauty is in the beholder's sight.
Follow the sun, then follow me,
To lands beyond, across the sea.
In another kingdom you shall find,
A true princess, of a different mind."
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