The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale

What begins as a cheerful tale of naughtiness based on a Korean folktale (no notes are included) ends with a rather startling surprise. Crisp, exaggerated, rather sophisticated artwork, somewhat reminiscent of Lane Smith’s style, depicts a pair of ebullient, contrary frogs, who refuse even to croak correctly. Their long-suffering mother knows that the best way to get them to obey is to request the opposite of what she wants. A problem arises, however, when her sons decide, in deference to their mother’s memory, to follow her deathbed instructions to the letter. Ages 5 & Up. (
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Houghton Mifflin Company
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Average: 4 (1 vote)


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The Green Frogs: A Korean Folktale Retold by Yumi Heo

Field of Interest/Specialty: Reading
Posted On: 01/07/2016

Book Review: The Green Frogs A Korean Folktale Retold by Yumi Heo
Tisa Schuit
K-5 Reading: Winchester Thurston
The story is about two naughty brothers who misbehave and disobey their mother from morning till night, day after day, and year after year. It is only after the frogs’ mother becomes old and dies do the frogs become sorrowful and remorseful for how they treated their mother so they decide to obey her last wish and bury her beside a stream. But it soon begins to rain and rain and the brothers are fearful that their mother will wash away. They gather at the stream and call out, “GAE GUL! GAE GUL!” begging for the rain to stop.
According to this tale, when young children in Korea misbehave, their mothers call them chung-gaeguri or green frogs.
This is a picture book which would be appropriate for any age depending on instructional use. I read this story aloud to two Korean students who were new to our school. They knew of the tale and appreciated the familiarity. This Korean folktale is going to be a valuable addition to the traditional literature unit and the East Asian unit that are taught in the third grade class. The many folktales that are read aloud are used to highlight story elements specific to folktales. As they read folktales from other countries throughout this unit, the students are encouraged to make text to text connections and to make contradictions and comparisons.
This engaging, lighthearted, folktale combined with its colorful illustrations is sure to delight its readers!