cover image The Frog Prince

The Frog Prince

Jan Ormerod. Lothrop, Lee and Shepard Books, $15 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-09568-0

Although textually straightforward, this is a visually sophisticated treatment of Grimm's tale. Its force derives not from broad characterizations or expressions but rather from subtleties of color, mood and detail. Ormerod paints a somber world dominated by grays and greens, with only an occasional splash of gold or orange for relief. Not until the final spread, when the princess and her prince are married, does a fuller, lighter palette emerge--as if the burdens of the princess's unkept promise and the prince's unhappy enchantment have finally been lifted. Decorative borders contain a striking assortment of unusual details: frogs in various life-stages, watery tangles of vines, curious flower-figures that sing and dance. In sum, they suggest a place where transformation is eminently possible, and where the boundaries--between dark and light, pond and palace, humankind and other--may be easily blurred. Ages 5-8. (May)