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Making an effort

To consider the importance of making an effort in everyday life by means of a narrative poem about frogs and princesses.

by Jenny Tuxford

Suitable for Key Stage 1


To consider the importance of making an effort in everyday life by means of a narrative poem about frogs and princesses.

Preparation and materials

  • The poem about the two frogs can be broken up into sections and spoken by individual children or by groups of children, as suits.


  1. Discuss with the children the times in their lives when they have really made an effort with their work or with people. How has this made them feel? Talk about the times when they haven’t really tried and discuss what that has felt like.
  2. Do the children agree with the idea that if a job is worth doing it is worth doing well?
  3. Read the following poem to the children.

    The Two Frogs
    The first frog in my story is completely uncool,
    A flop, a no-hoper, a bit of a fool.
    He just sits on a lily pad day after day
    With no ambition, I’m unhappy to say.

    Could he ever be kind, considerate, tender?
    No, none of those things is on his agenda.
    Does he ever make friends or say, ‘How do you do?’
    When it comes to hobnobbing he hasn’t a clue.

    He just sits in his pond, eating flies, getting fat
    And sticking his tongue out, well how rude is that?
    The only thing ever that made him feel glad
    Was that nobody wanted to share his pad.

    He’d been lazy and thoughtless since the time he was spawned
    And the day when he pushed himself hadn’t yet dawned.
    Now it took all his effort to remember his youth.
    He’d always been idle and that is the truth.

    But he remembered that, way back, he’d changed quite a lot,
    Turning into a frog from a little black dot.
    He had looked like a comma just wriggling about,
    But what made him change he couldn’t work out.

    He had gone goggle-eyed, turned all speckled and green,
    Quite the ugliest creature even he’d ever seen.
    One week he was legless, but now he had toes
    And instead of his gills he could breathe through his nose.

    He couldn’t believe that any of this
    Was because of a princess’ sticky old kiss,
    But something had altered him, that much he knew,
    And he’d overheard rumours, but could they be true?

    It seemed that one frog (or it could have been two)
    Had been changed into a prince and a handsome one, too.
    He had an idea, though the chances were slim,
    That something like that might just happen to him.

    But night after night and day after day
    He looked for a princess to come heading his way.
    Now, who’d choose a frog who has no conversation?
    Or who seems to be lacking in all motivation?

    Sad to say, when a princess did walk past his pond,
    The frog stayed where he was and he didn’t respond
    Though she called and called to attract his attention,
    To make any effort was not his intention.

    So there was his one opportunity missed,
    His only chance of being kissed
    And turned into a handsome prince.
    (He’s been unhappy ever since.

    He wished he hadn’t been so wet
    And blown the only chance he’d get,
    For he wasn’t resilient, he hadn’t the knack,
    He was gifted at hopping, but he couldn’t bounce back.

    Now frogs are renowned for their water resistance,
    But they’re not too skilled when it comes to persistence.)

    Another old frog lived fairly close by
    And it was his nature to give things a try.
    He was friendly, resilient, reliable, too.
    He did everything well he was prompted to do.

    He saw the princess and did 20 backflips,
    He smiled his best smile and puckered his lips.
    The girl was astonished to see his reaction
    And felt straight away an exciting attraction.

    It put her in mind of a story she’d read,
    So she bent at the pond’s edge and kissed the frog’s head.
    The frog held his breath, but oh what a shame!
    He felt tingly all over, but looked just the same.

    (Now the kiss has occurred, but I have to confess
    The rest of the tale is a bit of a mess.)
    The princess was probably tingling, too,
    As her skin tone changed to a greenish hue.

    At first she thought, ‘This is some kind of joke’,
    Until, when she laughed, it came out as a croak.
    Well, her feet grew bigger and so did her eyes
    And she felt overcome by a craving for flies.

    In conduct unseemly for royalty’s daughter,
    She hopped off the bank and into the water.
    (At least, you might think, the frog found a friend,
    But this is my story and that’s not the end.)

    Our frog didn’t give up and he didn’t despair,
    If you walk past his pond you might still see him there.
    He promised himself he’d be patient and wait
    For another princess to settle his fate.

    PS: Now you might believe such persistence is wrong
    But if you know a princess, please send her along. 

Time for reflection

There is a passage in the Bible where Jesus asks us to, ‘Let your light shine before everyone that they may see your talents’. Let us all remember that.

Dear Father,
Help us, we pray,
To try our hardest every day.
Whatever we say, whatever we do
Please help us to let our light shine through.


‘Who put the colours in the rainbow?’ (Come and Praise, 12)

Publication date: June 2013   (Vol.15 No.6)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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