Tuesday, 14 September 2010


Author/Illustrator: David Wiesner
Publisher:  Clarion Books
RRP: £5.99

  This is a picture book of very few words...twelve in fact.  The words in this book exist only to tell the time, the rest of the story is told through dazzling and humorous images.  The story itself begins before the inner title page, upon opening the book a sequence of images shows how frogs relaxing on their lily pads begin to levitate.  The rest of the story follows the frogs' journey as they fly around town on their lily pads.  Along the way they startle a man having a midnight snack, get caught in washing on a line and watch T.V in the house of a sleeping elderly lady.  As the night begins to fade and day breaks however their lily pads gentle fall back to land and the frogs hop off to the nearest rivers, lakes and ponds.  When the town awakes they are left wondering how on earth all these lily pads ended scattered around.  The following Tuesday night brings an even greater surprise...

The action is captured in hues of green and blue beautifully depicting not only the light at that time but also the mystery and magic of the story.  Every frog is unique and able to express a variety of facial expressions which greatly amplifies the humour of the tale.  It is easy to get sucked into the images with the amount of detail that Wiesner has included.  More notably what sets this book apart is the way images are laid out on the page.  Wiesner uses a range of comic book style boxes to sequence events and larger pictures are painted from a variety of interesting angles that help you see the action differently.

  This book won the 1992 Caldecott Medal and it is clear from it's uniqueness and imagination why that is the case.  The book has a lot of scope for exploration, it doesn't have to be read conventionally, children can study individual pictures, the book can even be read backwards.  I tend to prefer books with more text although I imagine if text were to be added to this book some, if not all, of the magic would be lost.  Having said that books to me contain words.  Without words it's art.  Art can tell stories, but art is never as great when it has been printed in a book.  It needs to be seen face-to-face to fully appreciate it.

Rating: 8/10


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