Mr Froggy Went A-courtin', by James Reyne and Wendy Straw

A frog went a courtin’ and he did ride, m-hm.
A frog went a courtin’ and he did ride
a sword and a pistol by his side, m-hm.

This classic song, which will be recognised by most parents, is brought to life in this picture book edition with endearing illustrations by artist Wendy Straw and an accompanying compact disc recording, sung by Australian musician James Reyne.

This hard cover volume is sure to delight. The illustrations are lively interpretations of the lyric, with plenty of appealing animal characters. Missy Mouse attends her wedding in a fluffy pink tutu and Mr Froggy is a dashing figure in purple hat and red waistcoat.

I wondered how the artist would deal with the closing scene, given that this is intended for young children. The song, for those who don’t recall , has the wedding guests sailing off across the lake, where they are swallowed up by a big black snake. Straw’s scene shows the boat with most of its inhabitants blissfully unaware of their fate, with the exception of two startled mice who are pointing at the approaching snake with alarm. The following page, with the instruction If you want anymore you can sing it yourself depicts the cast taking a bow framed by stage curtains, leaving youngsters to think that they are all okay – it was just a song or a play. The opposite page, the book’s endpaper, is a gentle depiction of the empty rowboat adrift on the lake

The accompanying CD features Reyne singing the song, in a lively performance accompanied by acoustic guitar. Kids will be able to sing along, and may choose to use the book to learn the lyrics.

A cute interpretation.

Mr Froggy Went A-courtin’, by James Reyne and Wendy Straw
Brolly Books, 2006