'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 2 March 2017

Review: The Story of the Dancing Frog

Quentin Blake's The Story of the Dancing Frog was first published more than thirty years ago. This 2017 edition is a lovely small format that rather suits the story of a small creature like a frog. I'm delighted to add it to my collection.

We are introduced to Great Aunt Gertrude by a mother whose child asks her to tell another story about their family. The story's narration is interspersed with the child's questions and comments, something that is quite deliberate, according to an interview with Quentin Blake.

The frog's story all begins when Gertrude marries a sailor. Unfortunately her husband's ship sinks and lonely Gertrude is distraught. It's just as she contemplates doing something dreadful that Gertrude sees the frog - a dancing frog.

The intrigued Gertrude takes the frog home with her and he dances on the grass by the pond she digs in her garden, and on the dining table to music in her collection.

News of the dancing frog spreads far and wide, and the frog, named George, is soon famous. George and Gertrude travel around the country as he appears on stage. Then George dances in France, Spain, and Russia, and Gertrude manages his affairs as they head all around the world.

In Quentin Blake's own words, this is a story about stories, and about coping with difficult situations and how stories can help us do that. The Story of the Dancing Frog is a thoughtful and imaginative story, and Blake's illustration style is perfect for a tale like it.

But do frogs really dance? Did George the dancing frog really perform on the international stage? As the mother tells her child, "You can do all kinds of things if you need to enough."

Title: The Story of the Dancing Frog
Author: Quentin Blake
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Barrington Stoke, $12.99
Publication Date: February 2017
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9781781125915
For ages: 5+
Type: Junior fiction