Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two Frogs in Trouble

Two Frogs in Trouble
Based on a Fable told by
Paramahamsa Yogananda

Written by Natalie Hale
Illustrated by Susie Richards

Ages : 4-8

Two Frogs in Trouble, is one book that has stood the test of time with us. It is a familiar fable, one that we are bound to have heard before, told by Swami Paramahamsa Yogananda, also known for his work Autobiography of a Yogi. So when I saw another book of his in the library, and a children's book at that, I jumped on it.

For those who aren't yet acquainted with this fable, it is the story of two frogs who go playing out in the farm one day. They hop here and there gaily, with not a care in the world, when suddenly, they fall into a pail full of milk. They try their best to climb out, but the sides are too slippery. So they keep swimming, with nothing else to do. Pretty soon, the bigger frog starts to get tired and wants to give up. But he is egged on by his friend, who just asks him to keep swimming. After a few more cycles of this, big frog just gives up and well...we know what happens to him then.

Little Frog keeps swimming. Everytime, he starts to feel tired and wants to stop, he thinks about what happened with his friend, and starts paddling desperately again. And what happens to milk if it is consistently churned like this? Yes. It starts to thicken and get blob-by, and then it gets even harder for little Frog to swim, but he perseveres with an iron will and superhuman effort. And finally, his legs find themselves on a mound of creamy white butter, and he launches off from that and hops out to safety.

The end point of the story might become kind of obvious, to us as an adult, but it still didn't make it any less exciting when the milk churned to butter. This is a book with a moral, so to speak, and as a generation, we have moved/moving away from these kind of stories, and yet they have some hold. How else can I explain the innumerable times we have been asked to read this book, over and over? And to understand what exactly it was that my 6 year old understood and truly felt about this book, we had a comprehension style question answer session, two of which I am posting here as final words:

1. What is your favorite part of the story?
When they were playing hide and seek and leap frog.

2. What do you understand from this story?
That you should never quit what you're doing.

This book taught me one thing too, and its not that you should never quit what you're doing. Instead, I learnt quite a bit about humility. That the parts that I enjoy and point out and emphasise on, may not be what impresses him more. When he could just as well be happy with the way the two frogs leaped and played!


sathish said...

very interesting. As you said, stories based on morals might be out of fashion; but, they still continue to hold a sway and stories will continue remain the easiest mode of explaining various things to kids.

Meera Sriram said...

I've never heard that story before, so I love it:) Nicely written review as well!

Poppins said...

Very very nice and stories with morals are good too - as long as we let them infer it and not force it down their throats !

SoulSpace said...

great story
some real gems out there and thanks to yu all we get to see and hear and read abt it

utbtkids said...

Nice pick T. Every time I hear the whine, "But, but, I can't do it. You do it for me", I lunach a leacture. But coming from a book (with frogs) and letting them make their own morals is a great idea.

Choxbox said...

'..that the parts that I enjoy and point out and emphasise on, may not be what impresses him more..'

That line made me smile T. Kudos to you - for letting that be, rather than forcing down what you think.

Sheela said...

echoing, Chox, T! sometimes, the 'moral' our kids infer may not be the obvious one that has been handed down thru ages... and that is fine too :)

Praba Ram said...

Echoing M. First time hearing it. Sounds like a great story for an oral session. Looks like Winkie enjoyed the aspects of fun and play, which shines light on his positive approach to things even though there are sad elements in the story considering what happened to the big frog. And the irony is interesting too - big doesnt have be stronger! :-)

Thanks, T for this lovely pick and a thoughtfully written review!

Anusha said...

:) loved the review & loved even more the moral you took from it! its a lesson for us too...

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