Unlike all the other frogs in the lagoon, Hopp doesn’t want to be a prince and is told to leave the lagoon. On the lonely journey away from home, Hopp meets several creatures in need of help and saves them from disaster: a mouse chased by an owl, a bear stuck in a honey pot and a baby dragon trapped in a burning tree. Each of them thanks this kind, strong, brave prince of frogs but Hopp insists ‘I am NOT a PRINCE!’. Finally, Hopp comes to a rainbow gate and meets a kindly chameleon wizard who has heard about the adventures and greets Hopp as a brave prince, but Hopp once more shouts ‘I am NOT a PRINCE!’. Taken aback, the wizard asks what Hopp would prefer to be. Meanwhile, back at the lagoon, the other frogs hope for Hopp’s return and suddenly in a golden glow Hopp returns, not as a prince, but as a frog princess, resplendent in rainbow colours. From that time on, frogs don’t automatically have to become princes; they can be anything – unicorns, zebras, dragons or mermaids.
Beatrix Hatcher’s chunky, stylised, colourful images add a great deal to the humour of this tale as well as giving clues about the narrative with notices and signposts: ‘lonely peak’ and ‘no-return cove’ as Hopp leaves, and at the rainbow gate ‘Welcome! Come inside. Here dreams come true. Fear Not! Don’t hide.’ The page design and typeface add emphasis to Hopp’s insistent refusal to be a prince and sharp eyes will notice the ladybird who accompanies Hopp as well as many other amusing details. Rachael Davis’s rhyming couplets, although a little contrived at times, give a springy rhythm to this tale aimed to encourage any young reader to ‘be proud to be yourself’. Children from 4 years upwards will enjoy the vibrant, intricate illustrations and the bounce of the rhyme, as well as being introduced to a frog who is kind, strong and brave and wants to be a princess.
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