Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Frog Went A Courtin', John Langstaff, Harcourt Brace, 1955, 30 pp

  In honor of the birth of my grandniece early this morning, I will give you a picture book review today. The Caldecott winner for 1956 was illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky with some pages in green and black, others in full color. The style is pen and crayons. Something about the eyes of all the animals and insects give them a human look, similar to the Mickey Mouse of the time.

  Frog goes a courtin' and marries Mouse. The text is an old Scottish tune which Langstaff wrote up by combining different versions. He was an American folk musician and educator as well as the founder of "Christmas Revels," a Solstice and Christmas stage show which involved the audience in singing and dancing and has been performed annually since the 1970s. Susan Cooper, author of the Dark is Rising series, was a friend to Langstaff and a writer for "Christmas Revels." 

 Back in the day, when I used to teach music to help cover the tuition at the Montessori school where I sent my boys, I taught this song. Later I wrote my own courtin' song called "No Promises," for my future and current husband. Courtin's songs are very powerful.

(Frog Went A Courtin' is available on the picture book shelves at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)

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