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Karen's Book Reviews

| Home | Picture Books | Traditional Literature | Poetry | Nonfiction | Historical Fiction/Biography | Fiction, Fantasy, and Young Adult Literature | Author Study - S. E. Hinton | Censorship Project
Traditional Literature


Scieszka, Jon. 1991. The Frog Prince Continued. New York: Penguin Group. ISBN: 0670834211. Illustrated by Steve Johnson.


The Frog Prince Continued is a story for young children. It is the sequel of the story where a frog became a handsome prince. At the end of the first story, it mentions that princess and the frog lived happily ever after.  The Frog Prince Continued picks up where the story infers what the living happily ever after was like. The prince and princess began to get on one another's nerves.  The frog prince contemplates changing back into a frog and sets out looking for a witch to return him to his former state. In the end, both remember what happiness was, and as they kiss, they both turn into frogs.


The happily ever after theme occurs in this story.  It is an American culture tale with a suspenseful and moving. It leaves the reader wondering if the frog prince will find someone to turn him back into a frog because he thinks he is not happy. The setting could occur anywhere or anytime. The events are easily followed, and the elaborate illustrations enhance the story. A child can easily spot the problem. The princess and the frog prince are not sure if they are happy, and they argue. A logical outcome appears because the frog prince and the princess realize they were happy together. To a small child, this book would be fascinating and leaves them wondering what will happen next and stimulates their imagination, so that they might guess what will happen on the next page. The story reflects human weaknesses because people often wonder if they could be happy as someone else or somewhere else. Shown in the story are human imperfections because the frog prince searches for something to make him happy when he realized he was all along.



Aardema, Verna. 1975. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 0803760876.

Characters in Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears interact with one another as the mosquito begins the process of upsetting everyone involved. The animals of the forest call a council meeting with the Lion King to find out what has happened to upset the owl who cannot hoot to call the sun to do her duty. The animals all tell their side of the story and concluded that the mosquito is at fault. The mosquito goes into hiding for fear punishment will prevail.  The end of the story shows the exact reason mosquitoes buzz in the ears of people. The mosquito is whining and asking if everyone is still mad at her.  She gets her answer from buzzing in the ears of people, and they reach up to squat her.

This 1976 Caldecott winner has elaborate illustrations that capture the attention of young readers. The illustrations are very colorful and include all the animals as they meet for a council meeting and many more join them.  Just the illustrations alone would cause a young reader to study the pictures with the turn of every page.  The illustrations definitely add to this African tale and make it an excellent traditional story. The title would invite a young reader to discover the reason mosquitoes buzz in people's ears. This traditional story explains why things happen. Small children who do ask questions about mosquitoes would be enthralled to find the reason hiding at the end of the story.  The problem is described simply when the child will learn what caused the monkey to kill the baby owl. It is an entertaining story because the  iguana started a situation with his humorous actions over the lying of the mosquito. This book would stimulate a child's imagination because the illustrations bring in many different animals that are not part of the main plot. They might imagine how they could have taken part if the story had not ended so quickly. The story reflects human weaknesses and imperfections because often humans jump to conclusions before the revealing of the actual truth.  

Folktale Poetry

Schwartz, Alvin. 1992. And the Grass Grew All Around. U.S.A: Harper Collins Publishers.

Alvin Schwartz collected folklore poetry from many different areas for this book.  It includes poetry, rhymes, riddles, parodies, and nonsense verses. The content of the book includes verses about people, food, school, love, work, riddles, animals, and a few other topics. Some of the verses are memorable ones. For example, the verse recited on Valentine's Day that includes, "Roses are Red, Violets are Blue," appears in the book. Rhymes recited during jump rope exercises are included. This section will capture the attention of those who love reciting verses during jump rope exercises.  Other verses included are plain nonsense verses repeated to children because the rhyme schemes are unique and make the verse easy to remember.

The intended audience was probably for young readers, but others who remember childhood rhymes and verses might also enjoy a walk down memory lane.   Older readers will reminisce over some of the verses, poems, riddles, and other topics included in Schwartz's collection. This book makes a superb book to share with children. They will find some of the collection stimulating because of the rhymes and will remember them for years to come. Some of them they will think are nonsense verses.

Also included are some verses that a reader may have a different twist on the ending than one may remember as a child. This is an excellent folklore book for parents or teachers to use to bring poetry and rhymes to the attention of the young reader and interest them in a type of reading they may never have found exciting. The illustrations enhance the verses and will also have a reader's attention. The poems and verses are traditional baecause there are many that have been passed along orally from generation to generation in this book.