Don't forget the Middle Grade May Challenge over at Deb Marshall's blog! Since Middle Grade is really just about all I read, I'm super excited about this. There's even a hashtag: #middlegrademay
My only conundrum is this: I'm blogged ahead until, um, sometime in late June. So do I count what appears here, or what I'm actually reading? I have some plans for the summer that will involve me reading less. (I know, start laughing at me now!)
Vande Velde, Vivian. Frogged.
2 April 2013, Harcourt Children's Books
E Arc from Netgalley.com
The Princess Imogene is trying to prepare for her 13th birthday by reading The Art of Being a Princess, but is finding it a struggle. She's not particularly beautiful or kind or any of the things that princesses are supposed to be. This might be why, when she is approached by a frog, she agrees to kiss him to break the spell. The only problem? She has kissed Harry, a local boy who has irritated a witch, and now SHE will be a frog unless she can convince someone else to kiss her and then be turned into a frog. She asks the witch to break the spell, but she refuses. Next, she ends up in the clutches of the well-meaning but dense Luella and her beau, Bertie, who convinces Louella to run away with his troupe of actors, where they can find fame and fortune by showcasing the "talking Chinese frog". This plan doesn't go the way either Imogene or Luella would like-- Imogene just wants to get home to her parents, and Luella is not allowed to act. Eventually, the two make it back to the castle, where a family friend of Imogene helps her figure out a way to break the curse.
Strengths: Having just done a unit on myths, folk tales and fairy tales with a seventh grade language arts class, this would be a fun book for students to read. Imogene's plight as a frog is amusing and makes for a light read, and the cover is fresh and appealing.
Weaknesses: Something seemed to be missing. Imogene had to linger far too long with the actors, and I kept waiting for something... bigger to happen. The ending was similarly dissatisfying. Vande Velde usually has such clever fairy tale turns that I was just expecting something more.
Pryce, Trevor and Naftali, Joel. An Army of Frogs (A Kulipari Novel)
Illustrated by Sanford Greene
7 May 2013, Amulet Books
ARC from Baker and Taylor
Ah, bellicose small animals. Reading Redwall and Warriors was personally painful. I mention the book because there will be readers for it, especially with the copious illustrations. I just did not understand why this had been written, and found myself wondering why Mr. Pryce didn't write a football novel instead (since he is apparently a pro ball player.). Here is the information from the publisher if talking animals are a popular genre in your library:
"It’s frogs versus
scorpions in this new series by professional football player Trevor
Pryce. For years, the frogs of the Amphibilands have lived in
safety—protected by an elite group of poisonous frogs named the Kulipari
and by the dreamcasting spell of the turtle king that cloaks their
lands in mystery. Now the spell is threatened by the Spider Queen, a
talented spellcaster, and Lord Marmoo, leader of the scorpions. With the
Kulipari off training in secret, the Amphibilands have never been so
vulnerable. Enter Darel, a young frog who dreams of joining the
Kulipari, despite his utter lack of poison and limited fighting skills.
With the help of a motley crew of friends, Darel has the chance to
become the warrior of his dreams.
Cool animals, thrilling action,
and a bit of natural science—this novel, illustrated in full color by
acclaimed comics artist Sanford Greene, is sure to be a major hit with