Valerie Peep, prolific novelist, essayist, poet, philosopher, and herpetologist, is best known for her series of impassioned essays on the futility of looking for amphibians on the moon. “There is no water on the moon,” she points out succinctly, “nor is there an atmosphere.” In each of her fifteen essays she notes another of the moon’s distinct failings, all told a compelling argument to fortify her thesis. To read these essays is to look into the mind of a stylist on the level of a Nabokov or a Joyce. And one is taken aback by her depth of feeling for lunar geology and ectothermic, tetrapod vertebrates.
Now I myself have always had a tender spot in my heart for amphibians and for the moon so you can imagine my pleasure (if you put your mind to it), when my lovely editor, Sanfrisca Khalifornia, asked me to review Valerie Peep’s gripping new novel, Dancing With Frogs, the, by turns, sweet and sour story of a timid young girl who follows a frog into a treacherous tropical rain forest wearing only a pair of men’s slacks and a white dress shirt, leaving behind her persnickety parents, the Reverend John and the spiritualist, Marsha Wantinghorse.