cover image Once Upon a Lily Pad: Froggy Love in Monet's Garden

Once Upon a Lily Pad: Froggy Love in Monet's Garden

Chronicle Books, Joan Sweeney. Chronicle Books, $9.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-8118-0868-2

Living among the water lilies of Monet's country home, frogs Hector and Henriette and their tadpoles happily ``pose'' for the bearded artist who paints their pond each day. First-time author Sweeny sets up a rivalry between the frogs and a ``Monsieur Crow'' who thinks that it is he who is being immortalized on canvas; the crow is finally disillusioned one day when he ""swooped down and began snapping up tadpoles in his sharp pointed bill.... All at once the old painter sent a stone flying across the pond.'' In spite of such ecodrama, however, this tale proves anticlimactic; it simply tapers off when ``one spring, the old painter did not appear.'' Fain's (Handsigns) pointillistic paintings capture neither the spirit nor the subtleties of impressionism (compare Bijou le Tord's radiant A Blue Butterfly, also set in Giverny; Children's Forecasts, Sept. 18). Fain's stippled illustrations offer a sharp focus on the famous pond, which is depicted in a tart fuchsia-and-aqua palette. Readers can sample Monet's own take on his pond via a three-page gatefold reproduction of a 1920-1921 painting from the Water Lilies series. Ages 2-6. (Oct.)