February 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix | SLJ Audio Review

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redstarNIX, Garth. Frogkisser! 9 CDs. 11:07 hrs. Listening Library. Feb. 2017. $27.50. ISBN 9781524702021. digital download.

Gr 5 Up –“Frogkisser” isn’t a nickname most 13-year-old princesses aspire to, but when Anya makes a sister-promise to return Prince Denholm to his human state, she goes in search of Transmogrifying Reversal Lip Balm. Nix knows how to stage an enchanting story, as Anya finds herself up against (and equal to!) one adventure after another. Accompanied by palace pup Ardent, prospective good thief Shrub, otter/girl Smoothie, and her own ample intelligence and bravery, Anya sets out on a quest to restore Denholm and make the kingdom of Trallonia safe again. Narrator Marisa Calin voices characters with delightful English and Scottish accents. Nix keeps listeners on their toes, tossing in bits of fairy tales and delightful surprises (friendly monster Moatie; the Only Stone, a flying carpet with an ego; Sir Malorak), some of which seem destined to appear in a sequel. Battle scenes are mild (most weaselfolk are “knocked out” in battle), yet the story never lacks for excitement. Nix puts a sophisticated vocabulary to good use, seamlessly weaving in words such as admonishment, jerkin, and demesne. ­VERDICT Highly recommended for middle school audiobook collections. Nix’s story is excellent in its own right, and Calin’s voice enhances Anya’s adventure in every way. [“With wonderfully inventive creatures, challenging vocabulary, and a captivating story, this fantasy is recommended as a first purchase for YA collections”: SLJ 1/17 starred review of the Scholastic book.]–Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TX

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

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