Story Cue Card
Story: The Frog Prince, Continued.
By Jon Scieszka.
Running Time: Approximately 8 minutes
Power Centers: This story is at its heart a funny story, so the main power center is humor. There are many funny moments in the story, the funniest of which are listed below. There are also several other power centers, which are listed below as well.
Secondary Power Centers:
1) Princess (who later becomes a Frog)
2) Prince (who later becomes a Carriage and then becomes a Frog)
3) Witch #1
4) Witch #2
5) Witch #3
6) Fairy Godmother
1) In the Castle – Bickering, Prince rereads story, Princess’s fit, Prince leaves
2) Witch #1 – Witch in “Sleeping Beauty,” wants to cast spell, Prince leaves
3) Witch #2 – Witch in “Snow White,” offers Prince apple, Prince leaves
4) Witch #3 – Witch in “Hansel and Gretel,” Prince invited for lunch, Prince leaves
5) Fairy Godmother – Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella,” turns Prince into carriage
7) Prince Back at Home – Carriage turns back into Prince, runs home to Princess
8) Prince and Princess Are Frogs – Prince kisses Princess, both become frogs
After the Princess has kissed the frog and turned him into a Prince (in the original “Frog Prince” story), the Prince and Princess are not having a pleasant life together. The Princess is frustrated with the Prince for sticking out his tongue and hopping on the furniture, and the Prince wishes the Princess would go down with him to the pond. The Prince wishes he could leave, but his story says that he is supposed to live “happily ever after.”
One day the Princess throws a fit and tells the Prince that she wishes that he were still a frog. The Prince thinks that is a great idea, so he heads into the forest to look for a witch to turn him back into a frog. The first Witch he meets is convinced that he wants to try to wake up Sleeping Beauty before the 100 years are up, so she threatens to cast a nasty spell on him, and he runs away. The second Witch is afraid that he wants to rescue Snow White, so she tries to feed him a poisoned apple, and he runs away. The third Witch is having Hansel and Gretel over for dinner, so the Prince believes that she wants to eat him too, and he runs away.
The Prince then comes to a Fairy Godmother, who is on her way to help Cinderella get to the ball. She tries to turn the Prince back into a frog, but she accidentally turns him into a carriage. The Prince gets scared because he is all alone in the dark forest. He wishes he were at home with the Princess and doesn’t think he’ll ever make it back. But all of a sudden, the clock in the village strikes , and the Prince is himself again. He runs home to the Princess, who has been very worried about him. He gazes lovingly at her and kisses her, and the Prince and Princess both turn into frogs.
1) Wording of the beginning: “The Princess kissed the frog. He turned into a prince. And they lived happily ever after.”
2) Repetition of the Prince’s phrase “Miss Witch, Miss Witch. Excuse me, Miss Witch. I wonder if you could help me?” with each of the three witches
3) Repetition of the phrase “Well, no matter. If you’re a prince, you’re a prince” by each of the first two witches
4) Wording of the ending: “The Prince kissed the Princess. They both turned into frogs. And they hopped off happily ever after. The End.”
Audience: 12 to 14-year-olds
This story is appropriate for YA’s because it contains the following elements:
1) Complex Tale: This story is fairly complex, with various characters and several changes of location. It deals with multiple perspectives at the same time (the Prince’s perspective and the Princess’s perspective), considering how both feel about the problems they are having. Also, the Prince and Princess are multidimensional characters in that they possess both positive and negative qualities, rather than being either good or evil. This type of story appeals to adolescents because, according to Piaget, they have entered the “formal operational” stage and can now consider issues from several different viewpoints at the same time. Thus they prefer more complex stories that challenge them, rather than simple, direct plots with good guys and bad guys. According to Greene, YA’s prefer “characters who are not necessarily all good or all evil” because these types of characters challenge them intellectually.
2) Real Relationships: Rather than living “happily ever after” like the couples of traditional fairy tales, this story’s Prince and Princess have the types of problems and struggles in their new life together that we all experience in our relationships with others. According to adolescent psychologists, such as Havighurst, and organizations, such as the Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development, adolescents are very focused on forming mature relationships with others, especially with peers. Thus YA’s would be able to relate to the struggles that the Prince and Princess have in overcoming their differences as they attempt to build a strong relationship. They would be able to identify with the real, everyday problems that the Prince and Princess are having. They would particularly be able to relate to the rather immature way that the Princess chooses to express her feelings (by having a fit) because, according to Konopka, adolescents at times need to be argumentative and emotional, so they would most likely have had outbursts of their own.
3) Identity Crisis: The Prince in this story is having a major identity crisis. Although he is human, he still displays many frog-like tendencies, and he is therefore unable to act in a socially acceptable, human way. He would like to become a frog again, but according to many characters in the story, he does not look much like a frog either. Thus he is caught somewhere between being a frog and being a human. According to Erikson, YA’s are at a similar boundary: the boundary between childhood and adulthood, and are trying to find their place in society. Other adolescent psychologists, such as Elliott and Stover, agree that adolescents are very focused on resolving issues of identity, defining their role, and finding their niche in society. Thus they can relate to the Frog Prince because they are struggling with the same types of identity issues that he is.
4) Humorous Version of Well-Known Tale: This tale is a humorous continuation of a well-known fairy tale, and it also includes elements of various other fairy tales. According to Greene, this type of tale really appeals to YA’s. They like the satire and sarcastic humor. They also enjoy these tales because they are irreverent and make fun of accepted standards, branching away from what is well-known. Klor categorizes these types of tales as “exaggerations and spoofs” and says that YA’s like them because “they are at last familiar enough with the classic folk and fairy tales and wise enough to see the humor of the spoof.”
Bibliographic information on other versions/variants:
Versions of the traditional German “Frog Prince” tale, which Scieszca’s tale continues.
The Frog Prince. Adapted from the retelling by the Brothers Grimm. By Paul
Galdone. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1975.
The Frog Prince. By The Brothers Grimm, Illustrated by Robert Baxter. Mahwah,
The Frog Prince. Retold by Jan Ormerod and David Lloyd. New York: Lothrop,
Lee and Shepard Books, 1990.
“The Frog Prince” by The Brothers Grimm in The Faber Book of Favourite Fairy
Tales. Edited by Sara and Stephen Corrin. Boston: Faber and Faber, 1988. p. 141-147.
“The Frog Prince” by the Brothers Grimm, translated and retold by Wanda Gág,
in Tomie dePaola’s Favorite Nursery Tales. By Tomie dePaola. New York: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1986. p. 20-31.
“The Frog Prince” in A Handful of Beans. Retold by Jeanne Steig. New York:
HarperCollins, 1998. p. 99 – 118.
“The Frog Prince” in Puss in Boots and Other Stories. Told and Illustrated by
Anne Rockwell. New York: MacMillan Publishing Company, 1988. p. 66 – 74.
“The Frog Prince” in Read Me a Fairy Tale: A Child’s Book of Classic Fairy Tales.
Retold by Rose Impey. New York: Scholastic, 1992. p. 9 – 14.
“The Frog King, or Iron Heinrich” in The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers
Grimm. Translation and Introduction by Jack Zipes. New York: Bantam Books, 2003. p. 2 – 5. (Other books on the complete or selected tales of the Brothers Grimm also include this tale.)
The Frog Prince or Iron Henry. By Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm. Illustrated by
Binette Schroeder. Translated by Naomi Lewis. New York: North-South Books, 1989.
The Princess and the Frog. By the Grimm Brothers, Retold by Will Eisner. New
The Princess and the Frog. By Rachel Isadora. New York: Greenwillow Books,
English variant of the “Frog Prince” tale, in which the main character is a poor widow’s daughter instead of a princess:
“The Paddo” in Alan Garner’s Book of British Fairy Tales. By Alan Garner. New
Brief comparison of all versions/variants in terms of language, rhythm, "tellability," "flavor," content, etc. Stress the differences in style rather than those of content:
Original Brothers Grimm Tale:
The original tale, by the Brothers Grimm, is the most beautifully written version of the tale. It uses very advanced, poetic language, which is full of metaphors. For example, one sentence says, “The sun itself, which sees so much, was dazzled when its light shone on her face.” The story achieves its rhythm by being peppered with small rhyming verses, such as “There was a princess/ Open the door!/ She made me a promise,/ I’ll tell you more!” Because of the beautiful language and rhyming verses, this version of the story is thus very “tellable.”
This version of the tale is also more violent than the version that many children today have heard. In this version, the Princess turns the frog into a Prince when she throws him against the wall in anger. The introduction of violence as the method of transformation makes this tale much less innocent than other versions.
Rewritten Versions of Brothers Grimm Tale:
Many of the versions of the tale that I have listed above are only slightly-rewritten versions of the Brothers Grimm version. For example, Rockwell, Baxter, and Galdone’s versions of the tale are very similar to the original. However, other authors have made significant changes to the Grimm Brothers’ tale. For example, several authors changed the tale so that the transformation from frog to prince occurs without violence. For example, Corrin, dePaola, and Isadora have made the transformation occur either silently during the night, or when the Prince touches the floor in the morning. This change makes the tale a much more innocent one because the Princess does not show violent rage toward the frog. Impey goes a step further: In her version, the transformation occurs when the Princess kisses the frog. This changes the tale quite a bit because it makes it into a rather romantic tale.
There are also many stylistic differences in these versions of the tale. For example, some authors of the tale have shortened or eliminated the rhyming verses in the tale. DePaola has shortened the verses, and Isadora has completely eliminated them. Her version of the tale is therefore much less “tellable” because it is much more direct and matter-of-fact, with much less beautiful, poetic language. Some authors have taken the opposite approach and have actually expanded the rhyming verses. For example, Impey has introduced four-line rhyming verses throughout the story, and Steig has added longer rhyming verses, so that almost half of the story is now told in rhyme. These changes actually make the story more appealing to listen to, and, thus, more “tellable.”
Eisner’s version of the tale is the most different from the original because he has put the story in graphic novel format. He has also changed the focus of the tale so that it is now completely on the Frog Prince. The story begins when the Prince is being turned into a frog and follows the frog all the way through the story until he becomes a prince again. This version of the story is designed to be read rather than told, because it depends mostly on the cartoon format to capture the audience’s interests.
The British variant of the tale, in which the main character in the story is a poor widow’s daughter rather than a Princess, is different from the German versions in that it achieves its style and rhythm not through poetic language or through rhyme but through four-line non-rhyming songs that the frog sings throughout the story. The language in these rhymes is not beautiful, but instead reflects the culture and time period in which the story takes place. For example, words such as “hinny” and “paddo” are used. Thus the story is still very “tellable,” but has a less lofty, more everyday feel than the German tale.
Also, this variant is less innocent and more violent than the German versions because the Princess turns the frog into a Prince by cutting off his head.