Little Joe isn't afraid of the water, but he can't swim. He only splashes around. This makes him sad because everyone in his family swims easily and well -- and Joe longs to.
One day, a very small frog from a nearby pond hops over and right into the pool. Joe watches him swim back and forth, kicking hard with his strong back legs. Joe's brother and sister try to grab Frog or chase him out. Joe's dad brings a net to scoop up Frog. Even Joe's mother joins in. Joe just watches. But when his family grows tired of the chase, Joe manages to rescue the tiny frog. Then he looks at the pool. If he imitates the frog, will he finally be able to swim? This charming story, simply told by a much-loved author, will encourage small children who long to swim, and delight all those who already can. Jane Browne's full-color paintings catch perfectly the small drama of Joe and Frog's adventure.
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Susan Cooper is one of our most distinguished children's book authors. The Grey King, part of her five-book sequence, The Dark Is Rising, won the Newbery Medal. The Dark Is Rising, the first book in the sequence, was the only Newbery Honor Book of its publication year. Two other books in the sequence were runners-up for Britain's Carnegie Medal. Susan Cooper's most recent novel, King of Shadows, was awarded a Boston Globe -- Horn Book Honor.
Born in England, Susan Cooper was a reporter and feature writer for the London Sunday Times before coming to live in the United States. Her television screenplays for adults have received two Writers Guild Awards and two Emmy nominations. Susan Cooper lives in Connecticut with her actor husband, Hume Cronyn.From Publishers Weekly:
Cooper (The Dark Is Rising) introduces the protagonist's predicament in this amiable tale in the first three spreads, with one brief line of text each: "Little Joe couldn't swim. His sister and brother swam like fishes. His mom swam like a powerboat." Joe, however, can only splash about and spends most of his time watching from the edge of the swimming pool. Then one day a frog hops into the pool, and Joe observes it as it swims around and struggles to climb back out. Cooper's text combined with realistic illustrations keep the amphibian true to its nature. While the rest of the family makes a big commotion as each tries to catch the little green visitor, it's quiet Joe who comes to its aid. Rescuer and rescuee share a moment at the pool's edge ("Frog and Little Jo looked at each other,... `Go home, Frog. Go home where it's safe' "). British artist Browne (who, incidentally, is married to artist Anthony Browne) then shows a full-bleed painting of the frog returning to its idyllic environs. Joe tries swimming again, applying his observations of the frog, and makes it across the pool. Simply framed, Cooper's story will fortify any child who's ever been uncertain around the water, and the added thread of interaction between boy and frog enriches the tale. Browne's watercolors in soothing and appropriately watery shades of blue and green, alternate full-page paintings with tightly focused vignettes that quietly build to a climax. Ages 4-7.
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