cover image The Frog Princess

The Frog Princess

Laura Cecil. Greenwillow Books, $16 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-688-13506-5

Cecil and Clark, previously paired for Listen to This and A Thousand Yards of Sea, team up again for this chipper version of an oft-told tale. Fate has promised Prince Marco to a frog bride. Dutifully accepting his lot, Marco receives help from his small green fiancee in demonstrating her cleverness to the queen, who has set various tests for her three sons' brides. But when Marco's official proposal of marriage is accepted, the amphibian metamorphoses into a beautiful woman. Cecil's text is true to its origins, though her phrasing and vocabulary often stray hilariously from the traditional. ``She can't come because she has a croak in her throat,'' is one of Marco's funnier excuses for the frog's absence from court; Marco's portly brother marries a baker's daughter who ``looked good enough to eat,'' etc. Clark's typically kicky watercolors rely, appropriately, on greens and bluish hues here. The characterizations are dead-on, especially the wide-eyed innocence of Marco and the benevolent expressions on the frog bride's face. Ages 4-up. (Mar.)