Frog Trouble: and Eleven Other Pretty Serious Songs for Ages One to Older Than Dirt by Sandra Boynton. Workman, 2013.
I’ve been enjoying Sandra Boynton’s illustrated albums for children since Philadelphia Chickens – her clever humor combined with Michael Ford’s catchy tunes are a brand of musical fun we all enjoy. Most of the albums seem to have a musical theme – Broadway with Philadelphia Chickens, classic rock with Dog Train, 50s and 60s music with Blue Moo. This album is clearly country, and sung by a wide variety of familiar names, including Alison Krauss, Darius Rucker, Fountains of Wayne, Kacey Musgraves and more. I have enjoyed all of them, but I have found in general that many people only really enjoy the Boynton album written in a style they already like.
These are always available either as a plain CD or as a CD inside a picture book, which includes big pictures with most of the lyrics in the front, and all the lyrics with the music in the back. Frog Trouble also includes performer pictures and bios in the very back. In keeping with the country theme, there are perhaps a few more serious tunes than usual, with songs like “When Pigs Fly”, “End of a Summer Storm” and “Beautiful Baby”. Here’s a beautiful line from “End of a Summer Storm”, sung by Alison Krauss:
“There’s a rising wind and a falling rain
beautiful patterns on the windowpane.
Fast and free, then it’s quiet again
at the end of a summer storm.”
Fans of Boynton’s particular brand of humor will be pleased to know that the classic silliness is still there in songs like “Alligator Stroll”, “Broken Piano” and “Frog Trouble”:
“I’ve known about heartache and what it can do
since the Great Frog Rush of Forty-Two
when brave folks traveled from far and wide.
And all of them dreamed. And all of them sighed,
Her ability to channel kids in a pure country vein shows in “Trucks”, “Heartache Song”, “I’ve Got a Dog” and “Copycat”. We spent several weeks with this playing nonstop in the car, while being asked to perform from the songbook at home.