FICTION

Charlie and Frog

256p. Disney-Hyperion. Apr. 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781368005821.
COPY ISBN
Gr 5–8—Charlie Tickler is once again abandoned by his globe-trotting parents. This time they're off to South Africa in search of giant golden moles. They usually leave him with a nanny, but this time he is sent away to his grandparent's in Castle-on-the Hudson, a Victorian resort town with a real castle. While exploring the town, Charlie visits the library, where an agitated old woman mysteriously disappears after trying to confess something dire to Charlie in sign language. Charlie smells a mystery and is told to enlist the aid of Francine "Frog" Castle, an expert detective-in-training who is Deaf and uses American Sign Language (ASL). Charlie and Frog work together to find out who the mysterious old lady is and why two men are trying to find her as well. Enduring a whole host of adventures, including shaky gondola rides across a river, meeting an odd fortune-teller, and exploring a creepy graveyard, the two must put together a set of clues, including a mysterious gravestone cipher. This fast-paced tale features a host of offbeat characters. Kane, who has worked as an ASL interpreter for the Deaf community, warmly depicts Frog's fluent signing and Charlie's efforts to learn the language.
VERDICT In addition to a fun-filled adventure, Kane's novel explores the difference between hearing and truly listening. A strong secondary purchase or for larger collections.

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