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Trainee teachers interpretation
on 23 August 2010
This is a simple story of two frogs sitting on a lily pad in the middle of a large pond, where one frog is holding a stick. The story opens with narrative in the past tense in a typical story opening of "Once there were two frogs sitting..." The narrator is unknown to the reader. The text then progresses to dialogue between the two frogs, where they are discussing why one of the frogs is holding a stick. We discover that is it for protection against dogs.
The frog holding the stick can be described as a pessimist as he constantly thinks he will be attacked by a dog or perhaps a pike or a heron. He may also be viewed as prepared, sensible and cautious. The other frog laughs, and thinks the frog is silly for holding a stick for protection and that it is unneeded as he believes it will never happen as it is much too unlikely. This frog may be viewed as the optimist, or simple unprepared and unsafe.
The dialogue between the two frogs takes up most of the text in the book. The narrator is used to introduce the book at the beginning and to narrate how the frogs are speaking, for example "suggested the frog with the stick" and also to describe the frog's actions, for example, "he laughed so much he fell into the pond." Finally, the narrator is used to conclude the book, explaining how the frogs are nearly eaten by the pike, then taken up by the heron, to then escape to dry ground to collect more sticks, which makes them miss the dog fetching his ball from the pond, who was the threat in the first place.
This book may be described as a cautionary tale, where it is always safer to be prepared, and to expect the unexpected. But what would life be like now for the frogs that they were now living in constant fear? Fear is the main theme of this book, and many people may find this book humorous. However, I did not find the book funny myself, but that must just be personal preference.
The book is quite large and is nearly square but it has a slightly longer width than height. The front cover is a wrap around, where on the front the picture depicts the two frogs in the pond, surrounded by lily pads, with the frog on the right holding a stick. On the opening double page it shows the two frogs sitting on a lily pad in the middle of the large pond, again with the frog on the right holding the stick. The frogs are shown at a distance, which gives the impression of the pond being really large.
The style of illustration remains the same throughout the book. The colours used are quite natural, and are variations of tones and shades of blue, green and brown are used, and the stick is a reddy brown. All of the illustrations are double page spreads where the images bleed to the edge at the top two corners and cross the gutter. The illustrations of the frogs are really detailed and show the frogs expressions really clearly so you can see how they are interacting with each other during their conversation.
The text is always found in the white space below the illustrations. The text is written in quite a large easy to read font. The opening five words are written in capital letters. The type of language is quite simple and easy to understand with no vocabulary that is too challenging. Children could read this book themselves. There is a mix of simple, compound and complex sentences. However the humour of the book is aimed at older children or adults as I don't believe younger children would pick up on it. This is why I believe that this book is aimed at slightly older children.