Jennifer Murdley's Toad

Bruce Coville, Author, Gary A. Lippincott, Illustrator
Bruce Coville, Author, Gary A. Lippincott, Illustrator Harcourt Children's Books $16.95 (176p) ISBN 978-0-15-200745-4
Paperback - 159 pages - 978-0-671-79401-9
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-8072-7603-7
Prebound-Other - 159 pages - 978-0-606-05382-2
Paperback - 159 pages - 978-0-15-206246-0
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-0-7434-3620-5
Prebound-Glued - 176 pages - 978-0-7857-1332-6
Hardcover - 176 pages - 978-0-15-204613-2
Prebound-Sewn - 159 pages - 978-1-4177-9560-4
Prebound-Other - 978-0-7807-1918-7
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This fanciful story questions the value of beauty yet spins out of control after a promising start. Jennifer, a fifth-grader, agonizes over her appearance--``I'm just a kid in the plain brown wrapper''--and her schoolmates' taunts are doubly painful. After purchasing a toad from a mysterious shopkeeper Jennifer is amazed to discover that not only can Bufo talk, he can mimic voices unerringly. At school the canny amphibian inflicts vengeance on Sharra, a nasty classmate. When a gorgeous witch kidnaps Jennifer's youngest sibling, her evil intentions are thwarted by teamwork--and by Jennifer's sacrifices that reveal qualities surpassing mere beauty. Coville's ( Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher ) comical classroom scenes lapse into a convoluted web involving Bufo's long-lost sweetheart and the belabored idea that pulchritude denotes cruelty; unattractiveness, humanity. The book's laudable message, however, is clearly delineated, and as kind, loyal Jennifer endures a poor self-image, one hopes readers will see the light. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)
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