Frog Trouble
Frog Trouble
Sandra Boynton
ISBN 9780761171768
Workman, 2013.
5 stars
Keywords: animals country-music dance family friendship frog-trouble pets rhymes sandra-boynton song trucks

Frog Trouble
by Sandra Boynton

An all-star cast including Dwight Yoakam, Ryan Adams and Alison Krauss sings of children's favorite subjects: dogs, frogs, pigs and trucks (among others). Sandra Boynton (Philadelphia Chickens) grew up with "a hundred different Cowboy programs," and with this album, co-created with Michael Ford, she tips her ten-gallon hat to some of their theme songs.

In "Part One," children may follow along with the music (performed on a CD tucked inside a durable pouch affixed to the inside front cover). It highlights a verse or two and the refrain of each song, plus illustrations of Boynton's signature animal characters. The full lyrics, melody and chord progressions appear in "Part Two," and "Part Three" simulates a scrapbook with photos and biographies of the vocalists and musicians. The album opens with Dwight Yoakam's ballad of a dog named Hank ("I've Got a Dog"), who howls to his crooner-owner's "lonesome song" and won't win a prize for "being dog-pretty," but the pooch never leaves his human's side. The Fountains of Wayne extol the virtues of "big trucks and little trucks and long trucks and tall," for "delivery or long-haul." Boynton pictures a pig in shades at the wheel of a red pick-up filled to capacity with apples. Later, more than a dozen of Boynton's porkers star in Ryan Adams' wistful interpretation of "When Pigs Fly."

Boynton and Ford vary tempos and tones beautifully, and also shake it up with choreography for "The Alligator Stroll" (a chicken crashes the reptiles' line dance) and tips on "How to Talk Like a Cowboy." Yee-ha!

This review first appeared in
Shelf Awareness for Readers.
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