Reviews for The Frog Princess
Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 November 2002
Gr. 5-8. Shy and clumsy and facing an arranged marriage with a dull prince, Princess Emeralda hides out in the nearby swamp or escapes to the chambers of her aunt Grassina, who is a witch. One day she meets a talking frog, and, of course, the frog claims to be a prince. Eventually the frog persuades Emeralda to give him a kiss, but, in a twist on the familiar, Emeralda becomes a frog herself. The two frogs spend much of the rest of the novel trying to escape from predators in order to reach the castle. Eventually, with the help of her aunt, Emeralda breaks the curse, and she and Prince Eadric, who turns out to be not particularly handsome, regain their human forms. As it happens, the ending in this fairy-tale-twisting first novel is rather like a Shakespearean comedy, with lots of disguises revealed. Unlike some takeoffs that revolve around one joke, this manages to be entertaining throughout, helped along by Emeralda's amusing first-person narration and the many witty lines. ((Reviewed November 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews
Kirkus Reviews 2002 October #2
Taking a princess's-eye view, Baker reworks the traditional story into high-spirited romantic comedy. Desperate for any alternative to a forced marriage, Princess Emma nerves herself to kiss a talking frog--and turns into one herself. As curses can only be removed by the witch who casts them, Emma and glib new acquaintance Prince Eadric of Upper Montevista set out to hunt her up. Fraught with dangers and punctuated with droll interludes as Emma struggles to get the hang of her new limbs and tongue, this shared quest is, naturally, just the ticket for cementing a close relationship. Boastful, libidinous, tender of ego, reckless, and unable to look beyond the next meal, Eadric is less archetypal hero than typical specimen of inept male, but he does have a good heart, and by the time the two achieve human form again, Emma will have no other--for a friend, that is: marriage will have to wait until she finishes a course in witchcraft. Like Donna Jo Napoli's Prince of the Pond (1992), this gives the well-known folktale a decidedly less than "Grimm" cast, and fans of Gail Carson Levine's "Princess Tales" should leap for it. (Fiction. 11-13) Copyright Kirkus 2002 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly Reviews 2002 November #3
This debut novel follows the adventures of 14-year-old Princess Emeralda and the talking frog she meets one day in a swamp. The frog begs her to give him a kiss so that he will turn back into Prince Eadric, his identity before an evil witch turned him into an amphibian. When the young royal obliges, she, too, is transformed into a frog, and the two leap off in search of the spell-casting witch to ask her to reverse her handiwork. Describing the duo's futile quest in laborious detail, the author pads her tale with some curiously drab characters, including another witch (who hopes to use Emeralda and Eadric in a spell she's concocting) and a bat and snake who reside in her cottage. The tale occasionally offers peppy dialogue and some comical scenes-particularly as the newly transformed Emeralda adjusts to catching flies with her tongue ("My eye-tongue coordination wasn't very good," she admits). Unfortunately, the plot doesn't make much of the magical elements (for example, the characters' encounters with a dragon and a nymph seem inconsequential), resulting in a disappointingly flat fantasy. Ages 8-14. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
School Library Journal Reviews 2003 January
Gr 4-6-An amusing fairy-tale adventure that takes the frog-turned-prince story a little further. Princess Emeralda is incredibly clumsy, she brays like a donkey when she laughs, and she would rather spend time outdoors or learning magic from her witch-aunt Grassina than marry self-centered Prince Jorge. When she runs off to the nearby swamp, she meets "Frog" who, naturally, claims to be an enchanted prince and begs her for a spell-breaking kiss. But when she finally complies, something goes terribly wrong, and suddenly Emma is a green-skinned, pond-hopping frog. She and Eadric spend the rest of the book trying to undo the spells that have bewitched them, struggling to avoid a dragon, a frog-eating dog, and an inept angry witch along the way. When they are finally released from their enchantments, it's clear they will live a happy-if rather unconventional-life together. Baker's characters, especially Emma and Eadric, are more than meets the eye. The tale moves at a good pace, and, though the happy ending is predictable, the trials and tribulations that precede it are interesting. However, it's difficult to determine the book's audience. While the story would appeal to primary to intermediate grade girls, the vocabulary is rather sophisticated and seems to be more suited to young adults. Perhaps it would work best as a read-aloud. For fairy-tale themes more in tune with their specific audiences, turn to Donna Jo Napoli's The Prince of the Pond (Dutton, 1992) for intermediates, and her Zel (Puffin, 1998) or Beast (Atheneum, 2000) for the older crowd.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
VOYA Reviews 2002 December
Princess Esmeralda, known to all as Emma, is not a typical fairy-tale princess. Neither graceful nor confident, she is clumsy and laughs like a braying donkey. Her favorite hideout is the swamp, exactly where she runs when confronted with her unwanted suitor, the odious Prince Jorge. Literally stumbling upon a talking frog, Emma is plunged into the magical world of spells and enchantments. Kissing a frog, as everyone knows, will turn him back into the prince he claims to be. For Emma and her bad luck, however, kissing the frog does the unthinkable. Tingling, fuzzy, bubbly, and weird, Emma is now a frog also. Adventures abound when the frog prince and princess hop their way through the swamp in search of the old witch who cast the original spell. Captured along the way by Vannabe, a witch wannabe, they begin a life-or-death struggle for freedom. Along with fellow captives Li'l the bat and Fang the snake, the intrepid hopping duo outwit the witch and make their getaway. Trying hard to be irreverent, hip, and snappy, the dialogue falls flat. There is little character development or sense of place. With the outcome never really in doubt, the plot's twists and turns seem forced. A secondary purchase for most libraries, it might find an audience with young unsophisticated readers, but tried-and-true fantasy readers will stay away.-Marian Rafal. 2Q 2P M Copyright 2002 Voya Reviews