June 23, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix | SLJ Review

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redstarNIX, Garth. Frogkisser! 384p. ebook available. Scholastic. Mar. 2017. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781338052084.

YA-HS-Nix-FrogkisserGr 8 Up –Anya, a 13-year-old princess, loves nothing more than reading in her favorite chair. But after she makes a “sister promise” to her elder sibling to turn a frog back into a prince, she finds herself on a quest for a magic lip balm that sends her far from her beloved castle library. Along the way, she learns that wizards offer help but only when asked; witches like trickery, so it’s better to strike a modest bargain with them; and giants are nearsighted, but their noses are so sensitive that they can smell lies. This delightful fantasy pits the small but mighty Anya against a sorcerer, Rikard, for control of the kingdom Trallonia. Nix grounds readers with practical asides, such as how to go to the bathroom without embarrassment when there is no toilet. He also has a gift for imaginative names, settings, dilemmas, and resolutions. Best of all, he invites readers to question the adult world along with his protagonist. Ardent, a talking royal dog, is as restless and uncertain as Anya, but he helps guide her. Not that she’s asking for assistance: “I don’t expect to need rescuing,” she tells him once before a particularly dangerous separation. “I’m not that kind of princess.” VERDICT With wonderfully inventive creatures, challenging vocabulary, and a captivating story, this fantasy is recommended as a first purchase for YA collections.–Georgia Christgau, Middle College High School, Long Island City, NY

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2017 issue.