Books 6 - 8 Years9 - 12 Years

The Story Of The Dancing Frog By Quentin Blake

Written by Sheeba Manish

Quentin Blake , the master illustrator is also a great story teller as can be seen in  ‘The Story Of  The Dancing Frog‘.

Jo’s great aunt Gertrude Gotkin is the subject of Jo and her mother’s story subject. Jo has many illustrious relatives – Uncle Geoffery and the iceberg, Sarah and her lions and Gertrude and her dancing frog. Jo is curious to know more about her aunt Gertrude and her wondrous dancing frog. As you go along the story, one is not quite sure who to admire more – Gertrude or the frog, both thriving in, out of character situations.

It turns out Aunt Gertrude married a sailor and lived between spending time with him and thinking of him while he was away at sea. Unfortunately, he died at sea one day.

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Gertrude and her sailor get hitched

Grief -stricken she wandered till she comes to a river, fully intending to kill herself.

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Gertrude is bereft and wants to end it all

Just as she is about to though a dancing frog on a lily pad catches her eye. She brings it ashore and starts to tend to it.

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A dancing frog and Gertrude meet

She trains the frog to dance to music.

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Tapping it’s legs to the beat

Gertrude then arranges for a showing of her dancing frog, George.Gertrude then leaves the comfort of her home and decides to travel show to show with her frog. Things were not easy with landladies not willing to let a frog live in their rooms.

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Fussy landladies want no frogs

On the flip side, George and Gertrude meet many interesting people. George is  part of an act for a magician and a dancer. In one such show, George replaces a talking dog and becomes a hit! Flowers, admirers, and gifts start arriving for George. Gertrude becomes busier still, booking shows, managing finances and what not. A chef  is so taken by George, he makes a special dish for him- live worms in butter sauce. “Yum”.

Soon Gertrude and George are visiting France, Spain, Russia  and much more. Never does George miss a beat and never has Gertrude had so much fun. In MonteCarlo a lord proposes to Gertrude, an offer she refuses, choosing the open road to the comfort of a home.

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George matches step for step with a flamenco dancer in Spain

George and Gertrude then visit New York where while Gertrude is out a fire breaks out in the hotel. Gertrude places a bucket and signals to George to jump into it from the13th floor, 120  feet high, which he does with  precision.

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The 120 feet jump down

George’s fame touches stratospheric heights and at the curtain call that night the applause just won’t stop.

Jo is curious and not entirely convinced about the dancing frog.

“Was it a true story?”

“More or less”.

“But frogs don’t really dance do they?”

“Not, normally, no.”

“And no one could really catch a frog and put it on the stage.”

“You can do all kinds of things if you need to enough.”

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Jo and mom discuss aunt Gertrude and her dancing frog

This a story of hope and courage. The author tells us it is never really the end of the world, there are always so many new adventures to face if you decide to. Jo’s mother’s story tells Jo that the world is a big place, with too many things to see and do. The Story Of The Dancing Frog is a book that tells us that we need to be unafraid and not put our own full stops in life. We will be rewarded several times over if we embrace our destinies and make a go for it!

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