April 19, 2013

Never, ever kiss a frog

By Vivian Vande Velde
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Princess Imogene Eustacia Wellington only has two weeks to finish reading The Art of Being a Princess and prepare for her 13th birthday. According to the etiquette book, princesses are supposed to be kind and helpful. So despite never having kissed a boy before, Imogene agrees to kiss a prince who has been turned into a frog. Vivian Vande Velde turns this fairy tale on its heels—er, webbed feet—for the frog changes backs into Harry, the kingdom’s local rapscallion who was turned into a frog by a witch. This unusual transfer spell causes Imogene to take Harry’s place as a frog.

When the unsympathetic witch cannot undue her own spell, Imogene must take charge of her destiny. In an attempt to enlist the help of country peasant Luella and her new actor beau, the frog princess ends up kidnapped and traveling with an acting troupe. With chapter headings like “A Princess Must Be Assertive and Persuasive, Though Never Pushy” taken from her etiquette book, Imogene puts her own spin on how a real princess—or any female, for that matter—should behave. Even as a frog, her spunkiness croaks through as she manages to outwit the troupe’s unscrupulous ringleader and steer Luella toward her own independence.

Imogene’s unexpected journey also gives her a new appreciation for all walks—or hops—of life outside the castle. Adding a light touch to this reptilian coming-of-age tale are clever quips and observations. But is Imogene fated to spend her remaining years as a frog? This is a fairy tale after all, and a handsome prince, a kiss and a happy ending are all in order. Frogged will leap into readers’ hands as they try to discover who does the kissing and who (or what) is the next victim of the frog curse.

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By Vivian Vande Velde
ISBN 9780547942155

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