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The Frog Princess by J. Patrick Lewis

The Frog Princess

by J. Patrick Lewis, Gennadiĭ Spirin (Illustrator)

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No hint of any why or wherefore. Whatever did the other brides, or princes for that matter, do to deserve their ignominy? Why could Vasilia not have warned her husband not to take her frog skin away? Why did he even deserve a chance at winning her? Those scholarly readers extremely familiar with traditional fairy-tale motifs will know, but this is a retelling, and so should have take advantage of the opportunity to give the rest of us some hints. The illustrations will charm some, of course, but they didn't quite work for me. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
A tsar tells his three sons to shoot an arrow as far as they can, and whoever finds it will be their bride. Two of the sons' arrows are found by beautiful women, but Prince Ivan's arrow was found by a green frog. He was disappointed, but married the frog anyways. The great tsar tested his sons' brides' cleverness with two tasks: weave the finest robe and bake a royal treat. Prince Ivan's frog bride excelled at both challenges, so the tsar decided to host a royal feast. Prince Ivan waited for his frog bride to show up, only to be met by Vasilisa the Wise, who had transformed out of her frog form. They danced into the night, and Prince Ivan ran back to his room in shock. He saw Vasilisa's frog skin lying on the ground and decided to burn it to keep her from changing back. When she returned, she told him that he had no right to burn it, and had he waited 3 more days, they would have had a lifetime together. She told Prince Ivan that he had to come find her in a kingdom beyond blue kingdoms. Prince Ivan went on a quest to find her, and came across an old man who explained that Vasilisa was more clever than her father, so her father curses her to be a frog. The curse would have lifted after three days, but Prince Ivan was impatient. The old man told him to throw a ball of yarn and follow wherever it leads him. Prince Ivan took off, and came across a bear, a falcon, and a pike, but spared each of their lives because they told him they can help him later. Finally, Prince Ivan comes across Baba Yaga, and she told him his bride was a prisoner of Koshchei the invincible. Baba Yaga told him how he could defeat Koshchei. With the help of the bear, falcon, and pike, Prince Ivan saves his princess, and they lived happily ever after.

Personal Reaction:
This was interesting. I am used to frog princes and not frog princesses. It still teaches an important lesson about not judging something based only on looks, and following directions! This wasn't the most fun book to read, but the artwork is a beautiful representation of Russian history.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. Place 3 buckets at one end of the room with secret prizes inside (maybe candy inside two of them and floss in the third) and have kids try to throw ping pong balls inside them to see which prize they get.
2. Print coloring sheets of robes and cakes and have them decorate their own
3. Cover various books with construction paper so that you can't see the cover. Tell the children they have to read the book to find out what it is. ( )
  ClaudiaNormand | Feb 10, 2016 |
The story begins by a tsar telling his 3 sons to find wives by shooting an arrow which would identify their future brides but Ivan discovered his arrow in the mouth of a frog. He honored his father and married the frog only for his father to issue several demands of his sons’ wives which would be impossible for a frog to accomplish. She accomplishes them at night in the form of the beautiful Vasilisa the Wise. When he finds that the frog skin is temporary he burns it forcing his wife back into the clutches of her cruel father. Ivan then has the task of finding a way to defeat Koshchei and win his wife back forever.

I thought this story was very interesting. I don’t recall ever hearing this particular story and each detail was very unique and intriguing. I found that I really couldn’t assume where the story was going and that kept me interested. The illustrations lent to the Russian feel of the folktale and were very grand and detailed.

Classroom Extension Ideas:
1. The children could do an activity similar to the challenge issued to Ivan when he had to roll the ball of yarn to find his path. They can each roll a ball of yarn and follow wherever it leads.
2. In the story, the frog princess made a beautiful robe for the tsar. The children will be given all different sorts of art supplies to make their own idea of a beautiful robe out of paper or bits of cloth. ( )
  Andycat | Sep 16, 2012 |
Age appropriatness: intermediate
This book is a good example of fantasy because it is a story about a frog who is really a princess and who marries a prince who eventually has to go on a quest to rescue her from her evil spell.
The media in this book is pencil. ( )
  mmandecka | Feb 7, 2009 |
The Frog Princess is a traditional Russian Folktale about A Tsar with three sons who needed to be wed. The prices each shot an arrow and the woman who found they arrow would be their bride. The third sons arrow was found by a frog. The Tsar looking to see which wife was best put the brides through tasks and each night the frog princess turned to a beautiful woman completed the task and turned back. The Tsar found her to be best. The prince burned her frog covering and learned that because of this she was sent away. He then spends the rest of the story facing many characters and tasks in order to save his bride from a curse. In the end the all the characters whose lives he had spared came to his aid to save the princess.

I personally had never heard this folktale and fell in love with it after reading it. The pictures in it, which where done by a Russian illustrator were very captivating and detailed. The story had my attention throughout the whole thing.

Extension ideas would be to have the students rewrite this story adding their own twist, by changing the characters, setting and tasks to a more modern idea, something that could be found in the students day to day environment. Also you could have the students compare this story and The Frog Prince. Looking up and retelling other Russian folktales would also be a neat extension idea.
  mizgregory | Sep 21, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
J. Patrick Lewisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Spirin, GennadiĭIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Forced to marry an ugly frog, the youngest son of the Tsar is astounded to learn that the frog is really the beautiful princess Vasilisa the Wise.

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