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Cover image for A froggy fable
A froggy fable

1st ed.
Publication Information:
Cambridge, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2005.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 24 cm
A little frog is upset when his simple life is changed by such things as other animals moving in nearby, but during an unexpected adventure away from the pond he learns that change can be good, after all.


Call Number

On Order



An unexpected adventure changes a frog for the better -- whether he likes it or not -- in a modern-day fable that challenges readers to see their own world in a new way.

Once there was a frog who lived under a rock by himself.
Every day he did the same thing.

Swimming to the pond to get breakfast, jumping onto a log to enjoy the sun, heading back to crawl under his rock again -- this is one frog who likes to keep to his routine. So when some noisy otters and blue jays move in, and a giant pine crashes into the pond and messes things up, this frog is none too pleased. Still, that's nothing compared to his shock when a jar descends from above and he's whisked away in the hands of a little boy, only to find himself lost and alone in a strange new place. Now our frog's on a journey full of many dangers -- and many wonders, too. Will he ever see his familiar pond again?

Author Notes

John Lechner is an artist, animator, multimedia designer, and puppeteer. A FROGGY FABLE is his first picture book. "This story grew out of my own experiences with change," he says, "but I hope readers take away their own personal meaning from it."

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 2-A frog is totally content with his life until his privacy is invaded. Otters arrive and splash in his pond; noisy blue jays disturb the quiet with their squawking; a pine tree falls into the once-pristine water, scattering needles all about. Then things get worse, for he finds himself trapped in a jar and being carried off by a boy on a bike. As fate would have it, the jar falls, dislodging the frog and leaving him with no choice but to find his way home. Of course, when he finally sees the once-troublesome otters splashing and hears the once-bothersome jays squawking, he realizes that he is where he belongs, and somehow the changes now seem to enrich rather than threaten his life. This tiny fable is clearly and simply told. There is minimal dialogue, and the text uses relatively short sentences, most often in a declarative style. The cartoon-style watercolor-and-ink illustrations are well drawn with minimal detail. The browns, greens, and blues in the first part of the book give way to a bold infusion of yellow to indicate the protagonist's sunnier view of his world. Although the obvious message and the very basic character development in Lechner's tale cannot rival that of Arnold Lobel's more sophisticated "Frog and Toad" series (HarperCollins), this is a pleasant read-aloud that could spark discussions with young listeners learning to cope with change in their lives.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Every day a frog leaves his hole at the edge of a pond to eat breakfast and enjoy a postprandial sunbath. Not much happens, and that's the way he likes it. But then a family of noisy otters moves into the pond and lightning strikes a pine tree, toppling it into the water. The frog, who comes off as a bit of a milquetoast, greets these developments with dismay: "I'm sad because everything is changing," he says. Without being heavy-handed, first-time author/artist Lechner imparts a lesson about flexibility in the face of change. Indeed, the parable is so quiet that when the green fellow is snatched from his home by a boy on a bicycle, the drama seems to come out of nowhere. The frog escapes but finds himself lost in "a strange and unfamiliar place." His fear and displacement may be more unsettling than instructive to younger readers, although slightly older children may identify with the protagonist's lack of control over his world. Frog consists of only a few lines, with goggly eyes and a spring-green body. Lechner's fluidly executed, spare pen-and-watercolor illustrations underscore the Zen message. Readers will cheer when the hero finds his way home and realizes, triumphantly, that change does not equal disaster, and "he could handle anything." Ages 4-up. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Horn Book Review

This fable, told in a matter-of-fact voice, stars a frog who clings to his monotonous but familiar life until he's captured by a boy. He escapes, but his experiences on the way home transform him into a frog who can ""handle anything,"" including change. In the illustrations, the frog's expression shifts amusingly from deadpan to smiling at his journey's end. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.

Kirkus Review

A simple take on the theme that travel is broadening. A solitary frog rejoices in quiet, unvarying routine, but learns to accept change after escaping from captivity and hopping cross-country back to his pond. Reflecting his debut's uncomplicated plot, Lechner draws both frog and woodsy backdrops in pale hues with a few strokes of pen and watercolor brush; the frog's mouth is just a straight line that subtly signals mood changes with slight curves up or down. The author also offers no overt moral, so literal-minded readers, especially those faced with life changes and not fond of the prospect, may need follow-up discussion, or a more direct treatment such as Mary Murphy's Some Things Change (2000). (Picture book. 5-7) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Booklist Review

PreS-Gr. 2. Change is inevitable, but this frog is not happy about it. He likes his life under a rock, but one day, things change. Blue jays and otters move in, and the pond becomes noisy. Frog wishes life would go back to the way it was; instead, Frog's home is destroyed, and he gets caught in a jar. Through an accident, he is freed, but he is lost in the woods. After many weeks, many dangers, and many wonders, he finds his way back to his pond. Frog's adventure has taught him that he can handle the changes life throws at him, and he looks forward to building himself a new home. Deliberately message driven, this nonetheless has a simple charm, which is heightened by line drawings softly colored primarily with greens and blues. Children afraid of change may learn from Frog's new perspective. --Ilene Cooper Copyright 2005 Booklist