Araminta Spookie feels that she is always blamed unfairly when something goes wrong or disappears, so when the father of her friend Wanda Wizzard tells her that she had better return his troupe of five acrobatic frogs, she decides to clear her name by setting up a detective agency to solve the frognapping. Although Spookie House has ghosts and at least one vampire (Uncle Drac, who likes to knit), the only character who seems to be up to anything even faintly sinister is Old Morris, a grouchy neighbor who suddenly turns his mushroom farm into a low-budget marine park. Black-and-white illustrations of cartoonlike characters with eyes on the sides of their faces appear throughout. The solution to the mystery is obvious halfway through the book. Frognapped , like the other "Araminta Spookie" books, seems designed for readers who like the idea of spooky things such as secret passages and ghosts, but do not want to read about anything even remotely scary. The humor is often so slight that it barely seems worth chuckling at. Purchase only if series fans are demanding more.
Walter MinkelCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Frognapped (Araminta Spookie Series #3)by Angie Sage, Jimmy Pickering
When something's amiss in Spookie House, there's usually only one person to blame—Araminta. But this time she had nothing to do with the disappearance of Barry Wizzard's frogs, and she is determined to find them. Of course, it's not going to be that easy, especially when dealing with a crazy character named Old Morris, a dangerous shark, and a demanding… See more details below
When something's amiss in Spookie House, there's usually only one person to blame—Araminta. But this time she had nothing to do with the disappearance of Barry Wizzard's frogs, and she is determined to find them. Of course, it's not going to be that easy, especially when dealing with a crazy character named Old Morris, a dangerous shark, and a demanding aquarium show audience. Can Araminta find the frogs and steal the show?
Read an Excerpt
Araminta Spookie 3: Frognapped
Araminta, where have you put my frogs?"
What kind of question is that? But last week that is exactly what Barry Wizzard asked me.
I did not answer.
I did not answer because when someone in Spookie House has lost something they always say, "Araminta, where have you put my . . . ?" You can fill in the blank with anything you like and chances are, someone will have thought that I put it somewhere. I do not know why.
Take yesterday, for instance. Wanda Wizzard, who lives with me in Spookie House—along with her parents, Barry and Brenda, and my aunt Tabitha and uncle Drac—asked me where I had put her green socks. Wanda is supposed to be my best friend, although you'd never believe it from the way she talks to me. So I asked Wanda why she thought I would want to even touch her smelly old green socks, let alone put them somewhere, and she just smiled the irritating smile that she has learned from my aunt Tabby and said, "How do I know, Araminta?" So I told her they were in the compost heap at the bottom of the garden. She came back hours later with eggshells and moldy carrot tops in her hair and she didn't ask again.
But Barry did ask again. "Araminta," he said, sounding snappy.
"Yes, Barry?" I replied politely, even though I just knew what he was going to say. Which he did.
"Where have you put my frogs?"
It was very trying. Wanda and I were busy, we had things to do. Wanda was building a house to put some small spiders in so they did not get eaten by the big spiders. And because thatwas unfair to the big spiders, I was building a house for them. Building a spider house is not easy, but Barry did not care because Barry thinks only about his frogs. They are acrobatic frogs, which means they do lots of tricks, like jumping over each other and turning cartwheels. And, they can do a frog pyramid, which I guess is all right if you like that sort of thing. Barry has—or rather Barry had—five frogs, and he had names for them all, but I can't remember them as they were silly frog names like Ermintrude and Gonzilla.
Barry stood right in front of me, tapping his pointy blue shoes like he was waiting for someone who was late. "It's not funny anymore, Araminta," he said.
I finished gluing the roof onto the spider house and then I made sure that I looked like I was thinking very carefully about what Barry had said. "I did not think it was funny in the first place actually, Barry," I said. "I have better things to do than put a bunch of stupid frogs anywhere."
"You haven't put them in the bath again and let the water out, have you, Araminta?" he asked.
"No, I haven't. Anyway, it wasn't I who took the plug out. It was Aunt Tabby. I was just giving them a nice swim."
"The water was hot, Araminta."
"I was only trying to warm them up. They looked cold."
"They looked even colder when I fished them out of the drain, Araminta."
Have you noticed that when someone is annoyed with you they keep on saying your whole name? It is a real giveaway. Aunt Tabby can say as many times as she likes, "No, I am not annoyed with you, Araminta, I am just disappointed, that is all." But I know she is annoyed because of the "Araminta" part. My uncle Drac always calls me Minty and he is never annoyed with me, so that proves it.
I could see that Barry was not going to believe me about the frogs, so when Wanda said, "We'll go and look for them if you like, Dad. Won't we, Araminta?" I thought I had better say "Yes, Wanda" and smile like I was very keen to do it. Barry and Wanda both looked at me in a suspicious way, but there is no pleasing some people.
Spookie House is a huge house. I do not know how many rooms there are because whenever I start counting I am sure that some of them move around, just to annoy me, so that I either count them twice or not at all. Then there are the secret rooms, and I only know one of those, because obviously the rest of them are secret. The secret room that I do know is in the middle of the house at the end of a secret tunnel and it belongs to Sir Horace, who is one of our ghosts.
So you can see that it was not easy to look for frogs in such a big place. Plus lots of the rooms are full of what Uncle Drac calls junk, but what Aunt Tabby calls "finds"—which means she has found a bunch of old furniture, I do not know where. Then you can add the piles of spiderwebs that are stuffed full of enormous spiders, which could probably eat all Barry's frogs for breakfast and still be hungry, and you can see that I did not expect to find any of Barry's frogs in Spookie House.
I was right. We didn't.
But we did find:
one Wellington boot with a family of mice living in it
one elephant's-foot doorstop (I do not know where the rest of the elephant was)
six pairs of Aunt Tabby's spectacles huddling together in a dark corner behind some moldy curtains on the landing, hoping not to be found
one crate of odd knitting needles
five bolts from Sir Horace's helmet
And then Aunt Tabby found us.
My aunt Tabby is always creeping around the house trying to catch me and Wanda doing something that she thinks we shouldn't. But she didn't have to creep around to find us this time, because Wanda was yelling so loudly that it was a bit of a giveaway.Araminta Spookie 3: Frognapped. Copyright © by Angie Sage. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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