cover image The Frog Who Wanted to Be a Singer

The Frog Who Wanted to Be a Singer

Linda Goss. Orchard Books (NY), $16.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-531-06895-3

A frustrated amphibian with a dream propels this picture book about the power of self-confidence. More than anything, Frog longs to belt out his soulful songs before an audience. However, the birds are the only beasts in the forest to land a singing gig, and-along with most of the other animals-they laugh at Frog's aspirations. (""Fool, you crazy?... Frogs don't sing in this place""). But buoyed by his parents' support and his need to express his talent, Frog books himself at the Big Time Weekly Concert, where, after an embarrassing bout of stage fright, he lets loose with a boogie-woogie solo. A huge hit, he inspires a number of dance crazes among his fans. Goss's (coauthor of Talk That Talk) chatty, laid-back, blues-infused storytelling (""Have you ever been frustrated? That's right, I said frustrated. Tell the truth now"") immediately wins the attention of readers, and her sympathetic tone leads children through the somewhat lengthy text at a good pace. Jabar's (No Hickory, No Dickory, No Dock) vibrantly colored scratchboard characters on black backgrounds take center stage. Such spirited yet sweet scenes as Frog crooning with eyes closed and a huge grin on his face, or parting his ""hair,"" and elephants gleefully doing the bump are particularly memorable. An author's note discusses the African roots of blues music and its offshoots in American popular music. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)