Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Frogged by Vivian Vande Velde

Standalone. Harcourt (April 2013) Library
A princess should be as good as she is beautiful.

So says The Art of Being a Princess, which Princess Imogene is supposed to be reading. But since she is neither particularly good nor all that beautiful, she skips her homework to visit the pond. There she meets a talking frog who claims to be a prince under a witch's spell. Imogene kindly kisses him to remove the spell - and gets turned into a frog instead!


Now the only way for the princess to un-frog herself is to convince someone else to kiss her. But before she can figure out a plan, Imogene gets kidnapped and becomes the unwilling star attraction in a third-rate traveling theater company. Can she find a way to undo the witch's spell - or will she be frogged forever?



I'm a lover of fairy tales and all that goes with it - dangerous journey's, daring rescues, princesses who save themselves (girl power!), witches, good versus evil, and of course happily ever afters. Telling me that you just read or I should read a book that is a retelling will instantly make me want to read the book. I do not need to know anymore just give me the book. I decided to read some retellings this year after I told myself I would last year. 

So here I am with Frogged - a retelling of The Frog Prince. Have you ever read the original Frog Prince? The princess is a total brat who after getting something precious back from a kind frog (a golden ball - I'm being serious) she runs away from him and refuses to keep her end of the bargain when he is able to retrieve the ball. Basically she agreed for him to eat off her plate, be her friend, and sleep in her bed. Kind of weird but, a frog isn't going to do anything to you so why not? And you know how she breaks the spell? By throwing the frog at a wall. No kissing like you have been taught with other books and certain movies. I felt a little snuffed with the no kissing part and why should this bratty princess have a happily ever after? The weird and interesting thing was with the prince's loyal companion and servant, Henry I believe his name was, if anyone know of a retelling with him let me know because I would totally read it. 


Frogged, thankfully, did not have a bratty princess - more like a snarky one who didn't care to act like a lady or in her case a princess. Imogene, named after one of her grandmothers - lucky her - is a little wild and she feels her mother is cold towards her. Her mother wants her to read a book entitled The Art of Being a Princess but Imogene can't bring herself to read more than a few sentences before she finds herself tricked and turned into a frog. She doesn't believe herself to be good but she was very nice to kiss a talking frog/human who needed some help. Imogene then journey's to the worst witch conversationalist ever and then gets kidnapped to work in a traveling theater by two witless teenagers - Luella and Bertie - who don't believe a talking frog when she tells them she's a princess under a spell. 



"By concentrating, she could make out what the frogs were saying, and that was when she realized their language only had a few words. Imogene didn't like to judge, but she felt that the frogs didn't have much to say."

While Imogene is at the traveling theater she makes witty and humorous remarks and gives advice to Luella who makes the mistake of following Bertie to a traveling theater. Imogene's funnier than I expected and I really enjoyed her perspective as a princess trapped in a frog's body. I kind of felt bad for frogs and their bad wraps even though I will still never get near any of them or at least not any toads *shudder*. 



Then, in the kind of voice quite a few people use for pets and very young children, Luella said, "Can you say Polly'? Say: "My name is Polly."
Imogene couldn't help herself. "You," she told Luella, "are a twit."
But Luella only laughed.
"Better be careful," Bertie said. "Some parrots have picked up quite rude language. The same might be true for our Chinese speaking frog."
Imogene told him, "You're a twit too."

I liked the bond Imogene and Luella both made and the somewhat change in strength of character with Luella. The villain - Ned, the owner of the traveling theater - was a horrible playwright. He was pretty wicked and lacking in smarts which was a theme in the story. Imogene's story was entertaining especially since she was amongst fools and would make light of it by making fun of them. She was also always nice to Luella which proved herself wrong. She was a very good person even when she was in such frustrating circumstances. That sounds a little contradictory but she was nice to the right people who didn't blatantly keep her against her will.


The ending was satisfying but there was one thing that I was so-so on. I liked how it all came together with Imogene but I don't know about Luella. There was kissing in this story which thoroughly made me happy. I'd never read a Frog Prince retelling before Frogged so now I'm really interested to see other author's perspective on the original tale. This was a really cute and funny retelling that I'm sure will entertain lover's of children's fiction and fairy tales.


5 comments:

  1. I am still going over the original story of the frog prnice that you just shared... it is still creeping me out and bothering me. lol

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  2. wow sound interesting, my sister love reading this type of books :) lovely review

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  3. I was reading the originally story to my kids the other night. This looks like such a cute retelling!

    Kate @ Ex Libris

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  4. Sounds really interesting, and I still love the cover!

    - Love, Felicia
    ( http://asillygirlsthoughts.weebly.com/ )

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  5. It's good to hear that the princess is no brat. That's something I've always disliked about the original story. And I love that she's snarky & doesn't care about being a princess.

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