Friday, May 22, 2009

Alien Amphibian: Green Wilma, Frog in Space by Tedd Arnold

It's been some years since Tedd Arnold's irrepressible amphibian heroine Green Wilma (Puffin Pied Piper) first hopped into critical and popular success, but now it's Welcome Back, Wilma time as she finally has her own solidly deserved sequel, the just-this-week published Green Wilma, Frog in Space. (Dial, 2009).

Green Wilma, of course, is still concerned, not with thoughts of outer space, but with her mind fixed firmly on inner space--her innards, that is, which she is busy trying to fill with an all-out chase for a loudly buzzing fly. At least, Wilma thinks it's the buzzing of a fly she's pursuing, but we know that it is really the sound of an approaching alien spacecraft, which lands quietly behind the unsuspecting amphibian hunter.

Out pops little Blooger, a blue-skinned and bug-eyed alien whose parents have lovingly parked to allow their little one a bit of R & R on planet Earth. Blooger quickly sheds his spacesuit and dives with happy abandon into Wilma's pond.

But just as Green Wilma comes into close range with her prey, Blooger's parental units decide it's time to take off.

"Time to depart, Sweetheart!" they call, and a mechanical arm deploys, stuffs the nearby Wilma into little Blooger's spacesuit, and beams her aboard the craft for dinner, leaving the abandoned little alien despondently waving frantically at his departing mother ship.

Once aboard, though, the aliens can't help noticing that little Blooger seems to have become a disgusting shade of green. "It must have been the pond water that turned our little Blooger green," they opine, but to be sure nothing is amiss with their little darling, they connect up the robotic Health-o-Mat machine to diagnose his condition fully.

But just as the robo-doc sounds the alarm, "Data indicates alien being," the ever-hungry Wilma hears a familiar buzz and takes off after the fly, who also seems to have been inadvertently abducted into space. In her reckless chase, Wilma careens off the control panel, sending the spacecraft back into its previous flight plan--right back to Miller's Pond. Green Wilma is quickly booted out, and little Blooger is just as quickly boarded, and soon Wilma finds herself alone, except for the surviving fly, back on the pond's edge as though nothing had happened. Except--where did she get this handy ray gun, just right for shooting down high-flying flies?

Tedd Arnold's art is just as engaging, and googly-eyed Green Wilma is just as goofy as ever in this happy return of an old and favorite fictional friend in Green Wilma, Frog in Space.

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