What looks like a mild-mannered, amphibian-themed variation on the birthday party favorite turns out to be a nifty little comedy about best-laid plans. Inspired by a tasty-looking dragonfly, a group of frogs decides to perform their own version of the Hokey Pokey. The first part of the song is familiar ("Put your right hand in..."), but each verse is intended to end with a snack: "Hop the Croaky Pokey/ As we chase a fly around,/ Right in the froggy's mouth!/ Whap!") The problem is, not a single member of the froggy chorus can catch the fly. Consternation and frustration build as a gator and an egret join in, with equally unimpressive results, and everyone ends up tangled in sticky tongues--everyone, that is, except for a sly fish. Long (One Drowsy Dragon) has a gift for conveying manic, obsessive personalities (he's a master of the googly eye), and he has found a great match in a song of relentless, rote cheeriness. The Hokey Pokey will never look the same--and that's a good thing. Ages 2-6. (Mar.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
PreS-Gr 1--Long's version of the traditional song features frogs sitting on a riverbank and on lily pads, eyeing a fly enticingly near. They put their various body parts in and out, waving them about and singing "Hop the Croaky Pokey/As we chase a fly around,/Right in the froggy's mouth!" One frog after another shoots out a bubble-gum pink tongue, but the smiling fly evades them. Frogs play trumpet, trombone, and harmonica as an alligator, a stork, and a turtle join the game. Spreads show the unsuccessful "WHAP!" of the frogs and the "Snap!" of the alligator and stork. Their expressions change from pleasant anticipation to exasperation as the fly circles blissfully out of reach. After putting their whole bodies in, they all try to get the fly, tying themselves up with their own tongues. A savvy fish leaps out of the water and gets it, "Right in the fishy's mouth!" which--as everyone knows--is what it's all about. Long's energetic illustrations are done in watercolor and colored pencil, and their cartoonish style adds to the fun. Pair this picture book with Lisa Wheeler's Hokey Pokey (Little, Brown, 2006) for an upbeat storytime.--Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN[Page 128]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.