CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 21. . . .February 4, 2011.
Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!).
Heather McLeod. Illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan.
Markham, ON: Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2010.
32 pp. hardcover, $18.95.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.
Review by Natalie Schembri.
An enchanting companionship is formed between young Ella and a friendly frog throughout Heather McLeod’s story, Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!). McLeod describes the pursuit of a persistent frog in obtaining a kiss from his new friend Ella. The frog repeatedly “pucker[s] up his wide froggy lips and squeeze[s] shut his big froggy eyes” in order to achieve his desired transformation into a prince, but, regrettably, his desired princess, Ella, prefers the idea of playing hopscotch, Simon says, and swimming in the pond rather than living like royalty in the frog’s family palace.
“Why won’t you kiss me? If you kiss me, I’ll—”
“I know,” interrupted Ella. “You’ll turn into a prince. But then what?”
“We’ll go to the palace and the king and queen—my parents—will make you a princess,” promised the frog.
Once the frog gives Ella’s favourite outdoor activities a chance, McLeod describes the wonderful developing friendship between the frog and the young girl. As he participates in playful, or “unseemly,” activities, “[t]he frog was surprised at how much fun he was having. He even liked getting dirty.” And, as the story progresses, the frog unwinds from his rigid and royal character and becomes more open-minded to enjoyable and friendly outdoor play with Ella. A long-lasting friendship is established.
Brooke Kerrigan provides a whimsical aesthetic feel to McLeod’s text, primarily, with soft hues of violet, green, and blue. The delicately illustrated pages of Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!) provide a graceful touch to the enchanting tale of playful friendship told by McLeod.
Most notably, Kiss Me! (I’m a Prince!) progressively represents the physical transformation of the frog into a young boy while, simultaneously, implicitly representing his interior change in character from persistent and pesky kiss requester into a warmhearted and friendly playtime companion of hopscotch and baseball. As the prince discovers the happiness of a true friend, he is able to “[play] happily ever after” with Ella (as he balances his homework responsibilities, of course).
I would recommend this illustrated children’s book for school and public library collections because it tells the magical tale of friendship and reinforces the invaluable contentment produced from attaining a “true friend.”
Natalie Schembri, a Masters student living in London, ON, thinks everyone should play happily ever after.
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