Sep 162010
The Nutria Frog Kingdom by Bayou Bennett is a new favorite children’s book at my house, as its magical storyline encourages children and adults alike to take care of the environment and protect the endangered species in our swamps. 
This environment protection story takes place in the Louisiana bayou, the precious swamps that are of significant importance to the health of the state of Louisiana and to our country. The Nutria Frog Kingdom is a book that both educates and reminds children of their responsibility in keeping our world clean for everyone to live in.

In The Nutria Frog Kingdom we follow the cousins Randy and Tina along on their journey through the local swamp and to their meeting with King Leo, the king of the Nutria Frog Kingdom. The Nutria Frogs are an endangered species, because of involuntary relocation thanks to a hurricane and pollution. The Nutria Frogs need help cleaning up the swamps before they can return to a clean environment.

Through a marvelous storyline from Bennett, children gets grabbed by the enchanted world of the bayou, King Leo and the Nutria Frogs, and it makes them wonder and question the world around them as well as their own actions and desire for protecting the environment. The detailed, colorful and fun illustrations are a creation of Bennett’s students at the New York Institute of Technology, and the creative illustrations kept my children wondering, pointing out details and pulled them even further into the story.

Mom’s Final Thoughts
I read the Nutria Frog Kingdom together with my three sons ages 14 months, 4 and 8, and I was amazed to see how every one of my boys sat still and listened to the story. My boys have a very special relationship to the Florida Everglades, and we have spent a lot of time exploring swamps and mangroves in our area and the Florida keys, so they seemed to understand the importance of the Bayou. 
The storyline with the endangered Nutria Frogs really captured my older boys’ attention, and my four-year-old started a very interesting conversation about the Nutria-frogs as we walked to school earlier today. My eight-year-old son suggested that he bring the book and CD to school, because he wanted his classmates to learn about keeping our environment clean. He spent quite some time studying the question pages in the back of the Nutria Frog Kingdom, and he enjoyed the interactiveness of the book as he got to draw and respond on the final pages of the Nutria Frog Kingdom. My sons already do a lot to help the environment, and the Nutria Frog Kingdom was an excellent way of reinforcing what they have already learned as well as of encouraging them to keep on recycling, picking up garbage and planting trees and vegetable in our small city garden.

The Nutria Frog Kingdom is a companion piece to Bennett’s documentary Me, My Father and the Hurricane, which is a documentary about her Louisiana heritage, environmentalism and about the relationship with her father Washboard Leo Thomas.

The Nutria Frog Kingdom is in fact based on the original lyrics of The Nutria-frog Story album, and the songs were recorded by Washboard Leo Thomas more than 30 years ago.

The Nutria-frog Story CD
The CD The Nutria-frog Story was a fresh addition to my children’s small cd collection, and it was like nothing we had ever heard. My four-year-old immediately jumped on the coffee table and started doing some very special moves and the baby started dancing. When I played it for my older son he noticed the connection between the book and the cd right away, and he likes to read the book and study the illustrations while listening to the cd. As I was very unfamiliar with washboard music, I have no experience to base my review of the Nutria-frog Story cd on, but it is a fun and lively cd that brings about great story lines and a very important message. The blue-grass songs are dramatic, lively and full of inspiration, and they make everyone want to dance.

Below you will find an Interview with Bayou Bennett about her documentary and her book the Nutria Frog Kingdom on LCN television. You can find more short videos from and about Bayou Bennett on you tube.

About the author

Besides being the author of The Nutria Frog Kingdom, Bayou Bennett is also a producer, award winning filmmaker and professor of cinema at the New York Institute of Technology. She is the co-president of Dolce Films, an award-winning film production company, where she directs,writes and produces. Bennett is also an eclectic artist, dancer, graphic
designer and actress.

About Washboard Leo Thomas
Long Hard RoadWashboard Leo Thomas, the inventor of the Electric Washboard, has been described as the “Jimi Hendrix of the Washboard” by the New York Times.  Washboard Leo Thomas has entertained audiences for thirty years at the Famous Door Nightclub on Bourbon St. in New Orleans, he played at President Clinton’s 53rd birthday party, and he was nominated for folk entertainer of the year in1992 and in 1993 for the New Orleans Big Easy Award.

You can find his latest cd New Awlins on, and you can download it in MP3 format as well. 

My Rating
The Nutria Frog Kingdom gets 4 1/2 out of 5 Story Time Stars for being a captivating and magical children’s book that not only keeps children engaged, but which also encourages both children and adults to take care of the environment. 

Buy It
You can buy the Nutria Frog Kingdom and the Nutria-frog Story CD at the Nutria Frog Kingdom website and at local New York City book stores.

Bayou Bennett is giving away a copy of the Nutria Frog Kingdom and a copy of the CD the Nutria-frog Story by Washboard Leo Thomas to one of Frugality Is Free’s readers.

Mandatory Entry: 

Visit the Nutria Frog Kingdom and come back to tell me a lesson learned from the book or something you have learned from visiting the website. (1 entry – 1 comment)

(Mandatory entry must be done in order for any bonus entries to count)

Bonus Entries
  1. Follow Frugality Is Free publicly via Google Friend Connect – (1 Entry – leave 1 comment)
  2. Follow Bayou Bennett on Twitter (1 entry – 1 comment)
  3. Visit the Nutria Frog Kingdom on Facebook – come back to tell me something you have learned (Like and/or leave a comment on the wall….not required, but appreciated!) (1 entry – 1 comment)
  4. Leave a comment on the Nutria Frog Kingdom review at Story Time Under the Stars (2 entries – 2 comments)
  5. Follow Story Time Under The Stars (1 entry – 1 comment)
  6. Sign up for Frugality Is Free emails. (In the sidebar) (2 entries – 2 comments)
  7. Enter any other current giveaway at Frugality Is Free, and leave a comment for each giveaway entered (1 comment per giveaway – 1 entry per giveaway entered)  
  8. Follow FrugalMom on Twitter and Tweet about this giveaway (can be done once a day  – leave tweet link) (1 comment – 1 entry per day)   

Tweet: #Win the children’s book (+CD) The Nutria Frog Kingdom by @bayoubennett, it encourages kids to protect the environment
This giveaway will end Wednesday October 12th at 10 p.m. EST.  

The giveaway is open to U.S. residents 18 years old or older. I will chose the winner via, and the winner will be notified by e-mail. Make sure to leave your email, or have your contact available on your blogger site. The winner will have 48 hours to respond, and if there is no response another winner will be chosen. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the environment focused children’s book The Nutria Frog Kingdom and the cd the Nutria-frog Story for the purpose of this review and giveaway. I did not receive any monetary compensation, and the opinions expressed in this review have not been influenced in any way.

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