A Frog And His Really Cool SandalsBy Michael Springthorpe/Illustrations By Enrique AravenaPublished By Reader’s MagnetLength: 69 pagesPrice: $15.81
What is pistachio green?Moves like a well-oiled machine?By the shore does convene?Adorns footwear made for a queen?
Finally, a frog, the main character in author Michael Springthorpe’s new book, “A Frog And His Really Cool Sandals.”
The writer of the groundbreaking “Harriet’s Journal” takes us, the readers, on a delightful, didactic and delirious journey in which our hero the frog loses his beautiful sandals and goes on a philosophical and metaphysical trip to retrieve them which includes the pelican, horned toad and dark shark.
The wordsmith’s imagery is mind-blowing, colorful and passionate. It lights a fire under any wooden spire.
Two perfect examples are pages 60 and 66:
“He felt a force of water and then a terrible hit from an immovable weight! A mountain-sized head appeared beneath him, a dislocation of waters pulled Frog down Into a towering white undergrowth of teeth….THEY WERE THERE!! Be-jewelled in bright color as ever he knew them …..’Gold and green filigree and lacing so rare, So wonderfully bestowed Attached like skin about his toes And reaching right up to near his ankles!!!”
Springthorpe, an Australian born in Sydney, but now living in Burbank, CA with his wife Kate, displays the same uncanny gift of humanizing animals that he earlier so brilliantly showed in “Harriett’s Journal.”
The actor’s rare and noble ability to have animals triumph over challenging, otherworldly and unique environments makes this book so much more than your run of the mill children’s book for adults. It turns a frog into a hero, a pelican a sage, a dark shark a vanquished foe and a horned toad a loving companion.
The scribe pens a children’s book for adults and vice versa. It is the “waterless canyons” and “cave-like heads” that stir the imagination and populate the plot with entertaining and artistic themes, subjects and sub-plots.
But it is the masterful sketches of Enrique Aravena that also make the book the grand success that it is and move the story along at warp speed. The detail, shape and color of the drawings are mind-bending and retina-roasting.
Springthorpe and Aravena’s teamwork is responsible for this masterpiece of rhyme, ribaldry and rambunctious reality. For each compliments the other in ways that strengthen both.
In the end, “A Frog And His Really Cool Sandals” is uncommonly and tenderly funny, thought-provoking and a work of genius because of the duality of its wordplay, depth of its meaning and its soulful, heartfelt and gentle artwork.
Rarely has a tome come along that stirs the present into the past and climbs the highest tree to find the square root of three with the power and trajectory of this frog and those disappearing ditties on his feet.
By Radomir Vojtech LuzaTheatre, Film and Book CriticAt the Theatre with Radomir Luza
At the Theatre with Radomir Luza