Goodreads: Dragon’s Breath
Series: Tales of the Frog Princess #2
Summary: Long ago, Princess Emma’s aunt Grassina fell in love with a man her mother did not think good enough for her. She turned him into an animal and Grassina thought him lost forever. However, through a strange turn of events, Grassina’s true love was found. Emma wants to help her aunt transform her lover back into a man, but, to do so, she will need to go on a quest to collect four impossible ingredients.
Review: Baker continues the Frog Princess series with her signature wit and charm. Though Emma and her friends face impossible odds and find themselves in many dangerous situations, they never lose their sense of humor as they encounter the unexpected. This makes the book suitable for younger readers, who may find themselves terrified by the monsters, but will soon be laughing as those same horrors engage in distinctly un-terrifying dialogue and actions. From the ludicrousness of a typical family spat occurring between a sea witch and her daughter to the thought of dragons competing in the Olympics, Baker keeps readers amused with the audacity needed to take familiar fairy-tale elements and mix them with modern ones. Some of the adventures occur a bit too quickly and sometimes too easily, but Dragon’s Breath succeeds overall in providing a pleasant and amusing tale.
Goodreads: The Frog Princess
Series: Tales of the Frog Princess #1
Summary: When Princess Emma runs to the swamp to escape a visit with Prince Jorge, she meets a frog who claims to be an enchanted prince. One kiss, he tells her, and he will return to being human. Unfortunately, things do not turn out quite as the frog claimed.
Review: The Frog Princess is an amusing read full of little jokes and cute animals. Many of them have the potential to be an enemy to a frog—otters, mice, toads, bats, snakes, and spiders—but most of them end up being friends. Young readers will enjoy their adventures as they experience the world along with them, from an animal’s unique point of view. Everything is large. Many things are dangerous. But some things, like eating flies, are unexpectedly good.
The writing style of The Frog Princess will probably appeal to only a select group of readers, however. Baker attempts to be funny or modern, maybe both, but the effect is that Princess Emma sounds completely out of place. Her rude, contemporary speech suggests that a royal upbringing was missing, even though her mother is supposedly a stickler for decorum, and it makes her sound as if she does not belong in her own time period—whenever, precisely, that is. Some readers may find this approach refreshing; others will find it quite jarring.
The plot also strives to be more fun than believable. Ridiculous obstacles arise at every turn, and then convenient solutions pop up around the next corner. This does keep things exciting, but none of the plot twists get the time they deserve, and there comes a point when one begins to wonder whether the story should not have ended already. The frog prince himself makes a similar observation, which suggests Baker may actually be aware of the problem. It would have been better for her to resolve it rather than joke about it, however.
In the end, my complaints may be unique to readers who have encountered tighter and more complex books. The Frog Princess does have enough going on to keep younger readers—the intended audience—interested, and they may find that the characters’ dialogue actually makes them relatable. There are enough books in the series to indicate that someone is reading and enjoying them. If you did, please feel free to leave a comment!
Summary: Annie is the younger sister of the princess whom the world will come to know as Sleeping Beauty. Her fairy godmother sought to protect her from a curse like that given to her sister, however, so magic has no effect on her. When the curse strikes and the castle falls asleep, Annie determines to break the spell and save the kingdom. She travels through various kingdoms seeking her sister’s true love with the help of her faithful guard Liam, but may unexpectedly find love herself. Read the rest of this entry