cover image The Prince of the Pond: Otherwise Known as de Fawn Pin

The Prince of the Pond: Otherwise Known as de Fawn Pin

Donna Jo Napoli. Dutton Books, $16.99 (160pp) ISBN 978-0-525-44976-8

This variation on ""The Frog Prince"" is told by Jade, a watchful female frog who teaches the bewitched royal how to survive in the pond. Jade eventually becomes a frog wife and mother to a school of tadpoles. The romance between these two characters, somewhat convoluted and tinged with adult sensibilities, changes Jade's outlook and alters the traditional habits of the frog world. Incorporated into the story are absorbing observations about pond life from a factual perspective. However, Pin's attempts to humanize the frog world are questionable, as his eventual return to human form in front of his amphibian family leaves them saddened and bereft. The story is further weakened by an ongoing, supposedly comic device: the Prince, due to a problem with his tongue, indulges in a kind of baby talk, so that his words emerge as ""fawg"" for frog and ""obteh"" for lobster . Aided little by Schachner's rough-hewn black-and-white drawings (a few witty, some repetitious), the story, sadly, does not measure up to its premise. Ages 7-10. (Oct.)