Author: Mk Smith Despres
Illustrator: Hyewon Yum
Review Issue Date: November 15, 2023
Online Publish Date: October 21, 2023
Publisher:Enchanted Lion Books
Price ( Hardcover ): $18.95
Publication Date: January 9, 2024
ISBN ( Hardcover ): 9781592703944
Despite great effort, Bernardo the frog just can’t find a place in the morning chorus.
Bernardo knows his song sounds “like wood and nighttime and things inside of other things.” But he loves the way the birds sing to the sun to unfold the flowers and send leaves “to dance across the forest floor.” He finds it so lovely that he tries to join in by donning a silly bird disguise made of leaves and berries. Alas, he looks ridiculous to the creatures around the pond; nor do they appreciate his efforts to climb a tree and then dance awkwardly across flower tops. By the time he gives up, the sun has traveled across the sky, and he feels too discouraged to listen to the crickets, the blackbirds, and the other frogs in their evening chorus—until, that is, he hears a snail marvel at “the song that lulls the woods to sleep.” Using a mix of watercolor, colored pencil, and ink, Yum illustrates Despres’ lilting, sonorous text with idyllic scenes of songbirds and waterfowl, butterflies and dragonflies, amid verdant tufts of greenery and sprays of flowers. As the day passes and the tonal palette dims subtly from bright day to a cool blue star-flecked night, one last view leaves the small frog with eyes closed in blissful appreciation.
Poetic and peaceful: a natural for bedtime reading. (Picture book. 4-6)