Saturday, September 26, 2009

Traditional Literature: A Frog Princess by Eric A. Kimmel

1. Bibliographic data:
Kimmel, Eric A. The Frog Princess: A Tlingit Legend from Alaska. Illustrated by Rosanne Litzinger. Holiday House, Inc., New York, 2006. ISBN 0-8234-1618-6

2. Brief plot summary:
The Frog Princess is about a princess who cannot find a suitor who she likes. Then a handsome young man came and she fell in love. Little did she know that her new home would be in the lake with the Frog People. As time went on her parents refused to let her go, so she was forced to return. Eventually she escaped back to the Frog People and lived happily ever after.

3. Critical analysis:
While I read this story, I kept thinking about wanting just find love, no matter race or religion. The princess becomes the dynamic character who changes within the book, leaving the life she had with her parents to live in the lake, where she feels like she belongs. All the while, her parents do not see her happiness. They see the fact that she is not with them anymore. Students from many different cultures and background can connect with this idea on some level. Symbolism is used by the illustrator by his choice of colors worn by the father and the daughter. Red was used for the father to show the power and importance he had for the tribe and his traditionalism, while a bright yellow that the daughter wore showed the contrasting beliefs between her and her father. This is a well-written book that would work well in the classroom.

4. Review excerpts:
a. School Library Journal : “Bright swaths of watercolors illuminate the landscapes and backgrounds.”
b. Booklist: “The story is gracefully told…”

5. Connections
a. Related Books:
Tlingit Tales, Potlatch, and Totem Poles By Lorie K. Harris
Heroes and Heroines: Tlingit-Haida Legend By Mary G. Beck
b. Activities:
In order to allow the students to know more about the Tlingit, I would bring in other traditional tales from the culture. I would also bring in other versions of the “The Frog and the Princess” to help them compare and contrast. With so many different cultures making up the United States, comparing this story with other Indian tribes versions or tales would show the students how diverse the United States is. This book would also work well in teaching symbolism.

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