cover image Pondlarker


Fred Gwynne. Simon & Schuster, $14 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-671-70846-7

Given Gwynne's ( A Chocolate Moose for Dinner ; The King Who Rained ) wacky, kid-pleasing sense of humor, it comes as no surprise that his upside-down retelling of The Frog Prince is extremely funny. The eponymous young frog has grown up listening to his parents tell the legend of the frog prince. Now an urbane, adult frog, Pondlarker fancies himself poised on the brink of metamorphosis. Lacking a princess (but dressed for the part--with sword, stick, cape and fancy feathered hat) he goes off to search for one. After several deeds of derring-do on the road (which is helpfully marked ``Princess 4 Miles''), Pondlarker finds a princess who has kissed innumerable frogs but has never found a swain good enough for her. ``Even if it turns out that you aren't my Prince Charming, at least there'll be one less slimy frog in the world,'' she tells him. But Pondlarker then decides he's quite happy being a frog. Sumptuously detailed watercolors are imbued with a stateliness appropriate to the grandeur of Gwynne's tongue-in-cheek gravity. Ages 5-9. (Sept.)