cover image Frogged


Vivian Vande Velde. Harcourt, $16.99 (208p) ISBN 978-0-547-94215-5

Vande Velde previously reworked classic fairy tales in The Rumpelstiltskin Problem and Tales from the Brothers Grimm and the Sisters Weird, and she now turns to the “The Frog Prince.” Princess Imogene, who is 12 and “gawky,” is tired of falling short in her family’s eyes. The real trouble begins when a (rather pushy) frog, who tells Imogene he’s a prince beset by a witch’s spell, tricks her into kissing him. He returns to his human form, but she is transformed into a frog as a result; worse, he was just the lowly son of a wagon maker. Too kind to use that sort of deceit on someone else, Imogene searches for another solution, tracking down the none-too-sympathetic witch who cast the original spell, getting captured by a boy-crazy runaway named Luella and her know-it-all actor boyfriend (who use Imogene as a gimmick to attract an audience for their theater troupe’s lousy plays), and trying to find a way home. Vande Velde’s story recalls E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess, and while the cast is fairly one-dimensional, Imogene’s misadventures as an amphibian are entertaining. There’s enough light humor throughout to keep readers hooked. Ages 9–12. (Apr.)