The Joy of Frogs is a typical Ungerer portfolio – seemingly a light, innocent survey of natural history, but also an inventive and tongue-in-cheek parody of the illustrated sex manual.
As he explains, ‘For me, nature has always been a soothing source of revelations. From clouds to minerals and plants to animals, them is a deep prevailing sensuousness in all nature’s manifestations, even in women when they follow their instincts, provided they are natural. In the animal kingdom, frogs look especially sexy – their skin is smooth, they have no pubic hair, an enormous gaping mouth and slim, long, nervy legs. They come alive in The Joy of Frogs – a satire about all the books like The Joy of Sex, which tell you step by step ‘how to do it’ – manuals instructing you about different positions, how to achieve sexual enlightenment. Personally I feel a bit sorry for people who need recipes and specific guidelines to fulfil natural requirements.’