Children's books and book reviews - reading resource for kids, teachers, librarians, parents

*Clara and Senor Frog* by Campbell Geeslin, illustrated by Ryan Sanchez
Clara and Senor Frog
by Campbell Geeslin, illustrated by Ryan Sanchez
Ages 4-8 40 pages Schwartz & Wade April 2007 Hardcover    

Clara is a little Mexican girl being raised by a single mother, who works as a magician’s assistant. Clara is accustomed to seeing magic in her life, but when her mother starts dating Miguel, who is a famous artist, Clara’s world begins to change. At first, she thinks the man is funny and wants to call him Senor Frog because of his looks. Now, let us remember here, that Clara, too, has a funny body type – her head is shaped like the lower half of a big circle! However, Miguel turns out to be a kind, gentle man who sees beauty everywhere and tries to capture what he sees in his art.

Soon, her mother falls in love with him, and they are married in his studio. The wedding is well-attended by their friends including El Mago the magician, a funny wrinkle-faced man with hair brushed over his balding head and very big teeth. Miguel and Clara bond while he teaches her about art, and Clara becomes enthralled with the magic of creative art. She poses for her stepfather, as does her mother, and he paints them in their finery along with imaginary flowers, birds and whatever else he envisions.

Clara and Senor Frog is a wonderfully light-humored children’s book that encourages art and creativity and will also serve as an inspiration for family, or classroom, to conceive of creative art projects. This is also a good choice to read to children just prior to an art project.

Parents, teachers and caregivers will be pleased to see the educational Spanish-English glossary on the second page that also provides pronunciation aids. Ryan Sanchez illustrated this book using oil paint techniques and kept a theme that included Mexican art. The illustrations look beautiful up close, but they look better from a distance. As such, this book is good for reading to groups of children aged between 4 and 8.

The hardcover, 40-page children’s book is printed in China by Schwartz and Wade Books – a division of Random House – and is protected with a well-illustrated slipcover. Author Campbell Geeslin has published many books about children in Mexico, one of which has been produced as an opera. As a hobby marionette maker and woodcut printer, Geeslin is no stranger to art. I truly enjoyed this light-hearted tale that artfully incorporates so many aspects of life.

click here to browse children's board book reviews
click here to browse children's picture book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young readers book reviews
click here to browse young adult book reviews
click here to browse parenting book reviews
web reviews
  Lillian Brummet/2008 for curled up with a good kid's book  

For grown-up fiction, nonfiction and speculative fiction book reviews,
visit our sister site Curled Up With a Good Book (