The Great Frog Race was my first book and these twenty-eight poems were written over a period of about five years. Now in a 4th printing, The Great Frog Race was also translated into Braille. My grandfather was legally blind and I'm especially thrilled to know my poems will be available to children who are visually impaired.
The poems in this collection — many written while I studied with Myra Cohn Livingston - celebrate memories of my childhood: tadpoles, shooting stars, and an old farm dog named Zeke. There are poems about singing off-key, getting lost with Mom, and a drowsy day-dreaming garden hose.
When I share my book with children I often bring my (very elegant!) metal bucket with "props" from some of the poems: One egg (plastic!). A length of garden hose. A well-preserved dragonfly. A sprig of lavender. Maracas. A saltine cracker. A monkey wrench... In talking to students, I hope to demystify poetry and help them understand that poetry is all around them, even in the humble ordinary objects in our everyday lives.
Kate Kiesler captured her own childhood memories in oils, and The Great Frog Race was the beginning of our collaboration. Our subsequent poetry collections are Old Elm Speaks: Tree Poems and Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems.
Kate and I hope you enjoy The Great Frog Race.
Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award
International Reading Association/
Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award
American Booksellers Pick of the Lists
NCTE Notable Book in Language Arts
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Society of Illustrators Original Art Show
Critic's Choice U. S. News and World Report
3 Starred Reviews!
"Readers will easily find favorites here...for personal enjoyment, reading aloud, and for encouraging children in the writing of poetry, this offering has lots of uses." Starred review, School Library Journal
"Both the picture-book format and the poetry in this collection are wonderfully enticing. Starred review, Booklist
"An invitation to experience joy and wonder." Starred review, Publishers Weekly
"An impressive debut." Columbus Dispatch
"These glimpses of everyday magic, reflected in Kiesler's richly colored paintings, will help young readers see the poetry that surrounds and suffuses them. Family Fun Magazine
"A winning title." Midwest Book Review
"Surprising insights and unexpected language make this a collection of poetry to be listened to and read aloud again and again." Mailbox Bookbag