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Three Dancing Frogs

by Leigh Hardingham

Illustrated by Patrick Shirvington

Reviewed by Margarite Igras

Both author and illustrator have a love of the Australian bush which is reflected in the delightful watercolour illustrations as well as the text written like the lyrics of a song.

The owl in the tree hollow observes some activity below as the three frogs in their tutus warm up for the show, while the musicians, the wombat drummer, the oboe paying emu, the echidna with his violin and the harp playing spider tune their instruments.

The audience gathers – the bilby positions his chair, the cicadas gather around the tree and clear their singing voices, the gecko props itself on a log, the possum and fruit bats find a vantage branch.

And the show begins.

The dancing frogs perform their dreamy routine on a moonlit pond, in the cool evening breeze.  They gracefully spin and twirl over the lily pads, between the reeds, and” step in time along the trumpeting wonga vine “while the audience is silent and lost in the romance.

But the mood changes. The wind picks up, there is thunder and as the lightning sparks and the frogs perform their final leap and spin, there is a crescendo of hoorays and hoots from the audience, and the show is over.

The beginning  builds up anticipation and excitement. The middle is filled with the graceful movements of the performers and the audience response. The finale builds to a crescendo ending with thunder, lightning and the absolute enjoyment of the audience.

One cannot help but to be swept up in this magical dream-like story.

Teaching Notes

New Frontier Publishing 2020

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