BLUE SPRUCE nominee 2012
by Heather McLeod
illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2011
Age: 5 +
Interests: fairy tales, frogs, magic, fairy tale updated, strong girls
Ella comes across the famous magic frog prince, but thinks twice about kissing him. Not through squeamishness, through good sense. “You’ll turn into a prince. But then what?” After hearing what life would be like as a princess, she opts out. (Princes and princesses don’t get to play much. It’s all royal duties and study.) “I’d rather have a talking frog,” says Ella. The frog is disappointed, but grows to like life with Ella, playing and having fun. When the royal family comes to get him, he goes back as a frog. In the end however, he comes back to Ella for his kiss because he wants to be human (having gotten concessions from the King and Queen to add play to his daily schedule). In the final endpapers we see the prince and Ella (definitely NOT a princess) going for a swim.
A thoughtful, feminist update on the classic tale. Ella is a great heroine. She thinks things through before doing them. She knows what she likes, knows what she wants to do and how she wants to live. And she’s a generous friend.
A funny and eminently sensible story, with charming illustrations.