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Spells

Overview

Once upon a time, there was a frog who wanted to be a pirate...or a handsome prince...or anything aside from a small green frog, really. When he discovers a very mixed-up book of spells, he decides to take matters into his own hands. But magic spells are tricky, and frog will tranform himself into a whole menagarie of things before he reaches his fairy tale ending.

This clever picture book from award-winning author Emily Gravett will keep kids and parents both entertained with ...

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Overview

Once upon a time, there was a frog who wanted to be a pirate...or a handsome prince...or anything aside from a small green frog, really. When he discovers a very mixed-up book of spells, he decides to take matters into his own hands. But magic spells are tricky, and frog will tranform himself into a whole menagarie of things before he reaches his fairy tale ending.

This clever picture book from award-winning author Emily Gravett will keep kids and parents both entertained with its mix-and-match pages and twist ending.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The black backgrounds, strong use of paper torn images, and watercolor character depicitons are better than a harvest night! This creative use of art and the split pages make this book a unique standour among picture books...Recommended."—Library Media Connection
Lawrence Downes
A bit of fine print in the front of Spells tells us that the illustrations are rendered in pencil, watercolor, shredded paper and "a sprinkling of glitter," and there's glitter, too, in the mischievous spirit of this witty book.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
A small green frog stumbles on a book of spells (which is written by “Emily Gribbit”), tries to turn himself into a handsome prince, but suffers a series of glitches. Frog transforms himself into a snake, bird, rabbit and other creatures before getting it right, finally becoming a prince (who is naked, but for a modest cloud around his midsection). The five pages that show Frog's new forms are cut in half horizontally, and children will delight in turning the half-pages, reading the new spells that appear on the left side of each spread and seeing the combined creatures that emerge (a half-prince, half-newt “prewt,” for instance). Gravett remains fascinated by the tension between the flat pages of a book and the three dimensions of the real world; early on, scraps of torn pages from the spell book, heaped against a field of Halloween black, themselves are transformed into a turbulent ocean, castle turrets and a paper doll chain of princesses that look ready to march into readers' laps. Even the jacket and flap copy provide laughs. Another winner from Gravett. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Elizabeth Fronk
The story opens with a small green frog who finds an old book of spells; this frog prefers books about pirates or a beautiful princess. He decides to take a page from the book of spells and become a handsome prince. The book's pages now split in half and the frog begins to change into a rabbit, a snake, a newt, a bird and eventually a handsome prince. The handsome prince seeks out his princess to kiss. But can he remain a prince? The small print in the end pages hints at an explanation for the story's ending. The illustrations combine collage with pen and ink and a hint of glitter against a black background. The book's split pages and the torn pages from the old spell book work wonderfully well with the sparse text. The torn scraps that are not used as part of frog's spell provide additional humor as do the opportunities the split pages provide. The book's jacket suggests "ages four to eight" but older readers may appreciate the humor even more than younger readers. A wide variety of readers can enjoy this sly twist on the traditional enchanted frog. Reviewer: Elizabeth Fronk
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4—As in Wolves (2005) and Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears (2007, both S & S), Gravett continues her playful focus on the book as physical object. Here a small green frog transforms an old book of spells into a pirate ship, its torn pages serving as sail, flag, telescope, and water. As the amphibian cavorts through ripped-up incantations, he finds a scrap that reads: "Spell to Become a Handsome Prince." On the ensuing spreads, the frog's attempts to line up the proper magic words and phrases are depicted on the verso, while on the recto, split pages lead to increasingly hilarious results. Thus, the jumbled spell may read, "Into the cauldron these words cast Hoppity, Fluffity, Carrotozabbit. Stir three times and out spells…R/ABBIT" (or "R/AKE" if one turns only the lower portion, revealing the snake's posterior, now supporting the head of a rabbit). The initial letter or blend resides in the top half-page; the remaining letters are on the bottom. The spells reconfigure, too. The controlled palette is comprised of parchmentlike cream, pale green, and yellow, and occasional glittery stardust. While the frog's wish does come true, it is undone when he fails to read the fine print—a condition clarified only on the endpapers. This tour de force of design and detail is guaranteed to delight all ages, especially those just learning how to…spell.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Kirkus Reviews
What if you found a book of spells-but wished it were something else? This smiling green frog would prefer a book about boats, to spur his pirate imagination onto the seven seas, or about castles, to help him picture kissing a princess. Shredded paper makes an alluringly tactile ocean for Frog's pretend ship, built from this very book of spells (authored suspiciously by Emily Gribbitt, in her delightfully sly trademark meta-humor). One paper fragment offers the seductive "Spell to become a Handsome Prince." But how do you follow shredded directions? Horizontally split pages allow readers to concoct their own spell-combinations along with frog, with results traditional (snake, rabbit) or haphazard (fabbit, snird). Pencil, watercolors and sprinkled glitter supplement the collage. Finally, Frog-newly a tall (naked) prince-kisses a princess. Gravett's twist is more mischievous than truly dark, but make no assumptions about the power of a kiss! A torn scrap on the endpaper explains it all, delicately hinting the criticality of reading the small print when casting spells. (Picture book. 3-6)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416982708
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/6/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 734,003
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 10.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Emily Gravett is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including the Kate Greenaway Award–winning Wolves and Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. She is also the author and illustrator of Again! (shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award), Wolf Won’t Bite!, Blue Chameleon, The Rabbit Problem, Dogs, Spells, The Odd Egg, Monkey and Me, Orange Pear Apple Bear, and Meerkat Mail. She lives in Brighton, England, with her family. Visit her at EmilyGravett.com.

Emily Gravett is the author of many critically acclaimed books, including the Kate Greenaway Award–winning Wolves and Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears. She is also the author and illustrator of Again! (shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Award), Wolf Won’t Bite!, Blue Chameleon, The Rabbit Problem, Dogs, Spells, The Odd Egg, Monkey and Me, Orange Pear Apple Bear, and Meerkat Mail. She lives in Brighton, England, with her family. Visit her at EmilyGravett.com.

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