I’m in Love with a Big Blue Frog

Les Braunstein, Author
Leslie Braunstein, illus. by Joshua S. Brunet. Charlesbridge/Imagine!/Yarrow, $17.95 (28p) ISBN 978-1-936140-37-4
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Brunet (When Pigs Fly) provides brassy, bold visuals for this bumpy adaptation of Braunstein’s 1967 folk song, famously performed by Peter, Paul, and Mary; the trio’s original recording and two additional songs are featured on an accompanying CD. An endnote explains that the song is a metaphor for the struggle against discrimination and segregation in the civil rights era, and the book stars a loving but vilified couple, a redheaded young woman and a tall beret-wearing frog (imagine a dapper blue cousin to Kermit). Throughout, folks keep to their own kind—whether human, zebra, or sheep—exhibiting a “different is bad” mentality. In the opening scene, the couple shares a float in a soda shop while customers (both human and animal) look on disapprovingly; when they move into a new house, beaver neighbors glare at them over a picket fence (“They think value on their property will go right down/ If the family next door is blue”). The tacked-on happy ending is perplexing: the prejudice of the preceding pages vanishes when the couple hands out frog-themed treats from an ice cream truck. Ages 4–up. (Feb.)
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