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The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale Paperback – May 25, 2004

4.5 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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 asks?they 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.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Ages 5^-8. 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. Stephanie Zvirin
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618432280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618432288
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.1 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #631,714 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember being told this story as a young child and being called a green frog numerous times growing up by my mother. Reading this to my children was a great way to share and to pass-on their culture. I'm reminded as I read this story, that old folk-stories (i.e. Hans Christian Anderson's little mermaid and the like) don't often have sugar coated Disney-esque endings and can come as a slight shock to children. My oldest daughter who is eight was saddened with eyes welling up by this story's ending. She was also extremely saddened by the way Hans Christian Anderson's original story of the little mermaid ended to explain why there are bubbles in the ocean.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wonderful introduction to Korean folklore, with gorgeous illustrations. The story is about two frog children who do the opposite of what their mom asks. At the end (cover your eyes if you don't like the ending given away), the froggie boys learn their lesson when their mom dies. I actually change the ending when reading it to young children, but it could be a nice book for talking to kids about doing what they're told. It is also a pourquoi story, also known as an origin story, which gives an explanation for why frogs croak when it rains.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I remember my [Korean] mother telling me this story when I was younger. I'm not sure if American audiences will appreciate this story since the lesson learned is "harsh" by Western standards. I plan to share this story with my children. The illustrations are great and the book is short enough to keep their attentions.
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Format: Hardcover
Just as many of the original, un-sanitized Grimm fairy tales were, well grim, this story, while charming, is a bit dark.

Having said that, the illustrations are absolutely charming and there is value to the story not being sweetened and told as it is.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love the story so much, that I used it when I was visiting reader in my child's kindergarten class. I was able to expose the kids to something international (Korean) and a life lesson as well. The illustrations are beautiful, but not conventional. Highly recommend.
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Format: Paperback
Colorful pictures. Nice story about frogs that don't listen to their mom. But the ending is harsh and depressing by Western standards. I'm Korean, but I grew up here in California. I was never told this story. I got this for my nephews who are half Korean, half Caucasian. Not so sure now that I can give it since they are 3 and almost 5. I think I'll hold onto it for now.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the story did not delight my audience of little ones. The illustrations were charming. Construction of book was adequate for carrying around in my bag.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The seller sent this ti me very quickly. I wish I had read the book prior to ordering though since it is too harsh to use in school as I had intended.
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