cover image Froggy Went A-Courtin'

Froggy Went A-Courtin'

Kevin O'Malley. Stewart, Tabori, & Chang, $14.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-1-55670-260-0

More a new tale told in pictures than an illustrated version of the familiar folk song--``Froggy went a-courtin', he did ride, / Sword and pistol by his side''--this is a hepped-up '30s gangster story of crime and punishment. Froggy courts the proprietress of Miss Mousie's Nightclub with the spoils from a bank robbery, but their wedding supper at Hollowtree (another after-hours joint) is cut short by Froggy's arrest by Officer Cat. In a modified ending, the criminal amphibian exchanges his zoot suits for prison stripes, and ``now he's doing seven to eleven.'' Song and illustrations here follow different paths, converging at some points (the wedding festivities) and diverging at others (as when the bank robbery is presented only visually). This fast-and-loose approach, though stylishly executed, may confuse children. With its dark, cartoon-style images, which resemble the work of film animator Ralph Bakshi, this jazzy debut venture may well find an appreciative audience among adults--aficionados of The Untouchables should love it . Ages 4-up. (Sept.)