Aug 132011
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.

The Nutria Frog KingdomIn 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 swam area 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 recorded by Washboard Leo Thomas more than 30 years ago. The blue-grass songs re dramatic, lively and full of inspiration.

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. 

Frugal Mom 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. 

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 for the 1992 and 1993 New Orleans Big Easy Award.

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

Buy It
You can buy the Nutria Frog Kingdom and the Nutria-frog Story CD at the Nutria Frog Kingdom website.

Author: Bayou Bennett
Reading level: Ages 4-8
Paperback: 26 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (December 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1453894772
ISBN-13: 978-1453894774
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Nutria Frog Kingdom by Bayou Bennett for the purpose of writing a book review. Versions of this children’s book review may have been posted on other websites or in printed publications.

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