Book Review: Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde

Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde is a children's chapter book. Princess Imogene has a hard time fitting into the princess mold. According to the book The Art of Being a Princess (third revised edition), which her mother gives her in preparation of her thirteenth birthday, one should be able to say of a princess “She was as good as she was beautiful.” When Imogene goes to a nearby pond she discovers a talking frog who claims to be a prince under a spell. However, when she kisses the frog no prince appears, however she is turned into a frog while the other returns to his usual form. She is soon in search of the truth, and a way to change herself back into her princess shape without tricking them into becoming a frog. The adventure offers some laughs and unexpected twists and turns.

Frogged is another fantastic fantasy or twisted fairy tale by Vivian Vande Velde. Imogene is not the typical princess, or maybe she is since most of the royal ladies I read about would much rather be outdoors than having polite conversation or sewing. She is smart, occasionally a little whiny, but steps up and does what needs to be done. She is ethically strong enough that she does not want to trick anyone like she has been tricked, even if it means staying a frog. Luella is a bit boy obsessed, and makes mistakes because of it, but she seems good at heart. Bertie is a handsome but selfish boy, who wants the girl and the main acting roles and will lie to get them. The leader of the acting troupe is ruthless and a horrible play writer, but is willing to try just about anything to make a dollar. Imogene is by far my favorite character of the book, which is good because it is her story. She might have started a little whiny, but as she grows and faces a series of challenges as a frog she discovers how sheltered she had been and her true cleverness come out to save the day on several occasions.

I recommend Frogged to middle grade readers that enjoy fractured fairy tales and stories about characters that can save themselves, not by physical force or magic, but by using their heads. The is a little different from the usual fare from the author, but is a fun and engaging read for a weekend or for a family to read together.
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