Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Once Upon a Lily Pad: Froggy Love in Monet’s Garden

Once Upon a Lily Pad: Froggy Love in Monet’s Garden

Joan Sweeny
Illustrator:  Kathleen Fain 
Picture Book
For ages 3 to 6
Chronicle Books, 1995   ISBN: 978-0811808682

Hector and Henriette are a pair of handsome and talented frogs who get married in a lovely pond in France. There are two "uninvited guests" at their wedding celebration; an old painter in a "battered straw hat" and Monsieur Crow. Hector and Henriette soon discover that the painter comes to the pond every day, creating pictures of, they are sure, themselves. Being aware of their debt to society the two frogs pose, and pose, and pose until they are quite weary of it.

Soon enough the frogs have other things to occupy themselves for they become proud parents for the first time. It is during this important period in their lives that the painter shows his true, and good hearted, colours to the frogs. Henriette and Hector are always willing after that to pose for the old man in the battered hat.

This unique little story about the painter Monet and his dedication to painting the water lily pond at his home in southern France is quite charming. Told from the point of view of two little frogs, we are able to see Monet at work and to also appreciate that while he was creating what would become great works of art, little dramas of nature must indeed have been going on all around him. Kathleen Fain captures the beauty of Monet’s water garden making it possible to see why the painter would indeed come to such a place day after day to paint.

At the back of the book readers will find a picture of one of Monet’s lovely lily pond paintings and a brief description of life.