The Hop

illus. by Niki Daly. 278p. Hyperion/Disney. Mar. 2012. RTE $16.99. ISBN 978-1-4231-3736-8. LC number unavailable.
Gr 4–6—Tad, a toad, lives in Toadville-by-Tumbledown. The toads have been warned that "Rumbler," a bellowing, stinking monster, will be coming to scrape the earth and crumble their town. The only solution for saving their community is for one of them to kiss a real human. Nearby, Taylor loves spending time with her grandmother, but she's worried about the property adjoining Eve's land. When she was young, she spent time at its pond and it was her kingdom, but it was recently sold and commercially zoned. Forty brief chapters tell the alternating stories of Tad and Taylor. Readers get an up-close-and-personal look at what it might feel like to be a small animal when its habitat is disturbed. From the seriousness of Taylor's grandmother's chemotherapy to a Queen of the Hop contest, Moranville skillfully weaves an action-packed, fast-paced, multilayered story. Illustrations in various sizes add to the enjoyment of the novel and will assist readers in visualizing the story from its dual viewpoints. This entertaining book is sure to become a popular read-aloud while prompting discussions about protecting the environment and the impact of human activities on the wildlife.—Helen Foster James, University of California at San Diego
A young toad named Tad embarks on a quest to find a princess whose kiss will save his Toadville-by-Tumbletown home. Meanwhile, a girl named Taylor is bummed that wicked developers are planning to tear up the land abutting her grandmother's property. There's some seriousness along the way, but the story's good-time rock-and-roll vibe lightens things up.

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