Napoli, Donna Jo. The Prince of the Pond: Otherwise known as The Fawg Pin (1994). 151 Pages. Puffin. $5.99
One day a prince is turned into a frog by an evil witch. Some undisclosed time later, a princess kisses him, and turns him back into a prince. But what happened to the prince in between? This story follows those in between times, as “Pin” finds love, creates a family, and teaches human traits to his frog-wife “Jade.” Due to a speech impediment because of his extra-long tongue, he calls himself “Pin” instead of Prince, and is a “Fawg,” not a Frog. This becomes important as he defeats a turtle, a water snake, and the Hag who turned him into a frog in the first place.
The ending is bittersweet; he feels like he loves Jade, and the feeling is mutual, but he does not behave that way. He changes the lives of every amphibian and reptile he meets, but he does not seem to care. His frog “family” remains in the pond when the prince is kissed. I found myself questioning the true level of emotional attachment in the last chapter.
This book is an entertaining read targeted at elementary schoolers. There is a lot in here about frog development- science in simple terms, designed to help kids learn about frogs while reading about the frog prince. At times, it feels a bit forced- what sort of frog knows about frog development instead of taking it for granted? However, it is a good chance to fit some science into an enjoyable book.
The Quick Version:
The book is beautifully illustrated, and easy to read. The story is familiar, but is retold uniquely enough to feel special. It scores a 4 of 5.