Author: Alex Flinn
Release Date: February 28, 2011
Published by: HarperCollins
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Johnny is a seventeen-year-old boy who helps support his family by working in the family shoe store—as a cobbler. He has dreams of being a famous shoe designer some day, but for the time being, he must work long hours to help keep the lights on at home.
One day a princess arrives on the scene and asks for Johnny’s help in finding her brother, who has been turned into a frog by an evil witch. Johnny has trouble believing in magic, but he soon learns his doubt is misplaced when a magic object transports him from one location to another. Going on this quest will solve all of Johnny’s family problems since the reward is money and marriage to the Princess. Will Johnny succeed in finding the Frog Prince and winning the reward?
My thoughts: I was really intrigued by all the lesser known fairy tales Alex Flinn referenced in the story. As a kid, I had read my dad’s Grimm fairy tale collection, so I actually knew the majority of the tales that Johnny encounters on his quest. Unfortunately, I struggled a little getting into the character because he seemed to behave more like a thirteen year old, but then Ange reminded me that the target audience for this novel is usually middle schoolers through younger high schoolers. Once I had that in mind, Johnny’s sometimes childish behavior was easier to handle. And I did enjoy all of the fairy tales that Flinn explores through this story. Ultimately, the quest that Johnny goes on makes the read worth it. I would recommend this to middle-school boys who are looking for a good read.
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