The Hop

The Hop

by Sharelle Byars Moranville, Niki Daly
     
 

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A small toad named Tad is in grave danger.

Rumbler, a monstrous earth-eating machine, is poised to destroy his home, Toadville-by-Tumbledown. The green grass, the blue pond-everything Tad knows might disappear.

It is foretold that one brave young toad can help-but at a terrible price. Only if a toad kisses a human girl will Toadville be saved. Tad is called to

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Overview

A small toad named Tad is in grave danger.

Rumbler, a monstrous earth-eating machine, is poised to destroy his home, Toadville-by-Tumbledown. The green grass, the blue pond-everything Tad knows might disappear.

It is foretold that one brave young toad can help-but at a terrible price. Only if a toad kisses a human girl will Toadville be saved. Tad is called to rise to the challenge, disgusting though it seems. In the company of his best friend Buuurk, he sets off into the unknown.

Meanwhile, a girl named Taylor is determined to stop her grandmother's pond from being turned into a strip mall. Perhaps, somewhere along the way, she will cross paths with a small, brave toad. Little does she know that his quest is the same as hers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Peg Glisson
Young, fearful toad Tad awakens from his winter sleep with a bump on his forehead and frightening dreams on his mind—dreams of his dear woodland and pond being destroyed by Rumbler (a backhoe). He learns he must find and kiss the Queen of the Hop to save the place and creatures he loves and so he begins a perilous quest to find her. Taylor is a young girl who resents her parents' busy lives but loves the time spent with her grandmother Eve, time during which they garden, enjoy the pond and flower-filled fields near Eve's house, and talk. Taylor learns that the nearby land has been sold so a strip mall can be built and is determined to stop the planned development. Their alternating voices develop their stories, which eventually (and predictably) intersect after each travel to Reno from Iowa. Fantasy and realism blend well, allowing the reader to root for these two as they take on their rather daunting tasks. A sub-plot about Eve's bout with cancer treatments is handled sensitively. Moranville's writing is wonderfully descriptive, allowing readers to see both city and country from Tad and Taylor's vantage points. Multiple themes are explored, including the environment versus development, friendship, loyalty, loss, and change. The overall tone is light and fun, in spite of the issues explored. Daly's pen and ink illustrations bring the characters and setting to life, while adding humor. With obvious nods toward the fairy tale The Frog Prince, this is an entertaining, yet layered, tale for young, independent readers. Reviewer: Peg Glisson
School Library Journal
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
Kirkus Reviews
Moranville transforms the Grimms' classic "The Frog Prince" into a humorous environmental tale. It begins with a prophecy. Tad, a young toad, Bufo americanus, has a dream during his winter sleep, in which he sees "Rumbler" (a backhoe) burying all the residents of Toadville-by-Tumbledown. In order to save Tumbledown from becoming a mini strip mall, Tad must kiss the (human) Queen of the Hop. That human turns out to be Taylor, who frequently stays with her grandmother Eve, whose property borders Toadville-by-Tumbledown. Embracing Eve's stories of Vietnam-era protests, Taylor embarks on a plan to stop the development. The quick-paced, humorous narrative shifts between Tad and Taylor. Readers will eagerly follow these two unlikely heroes as they share their first, then second kiss, and Taylor wins the title of Queen of the Hop. Tad's transformation from toad to boy and back again is convincing. A subplot gently addresses Taylor's concerns as Eve undergoes and recuperates from chemotherapy. Moranville writes about the complex world of toads and the importance of preserving wild areas with a light hand, and the happy ending, which moves several years into the future, is satisfying. An enchanting adventure. (Fantasy. 8-12)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781423137368
Publisher:
Disney-Hyperion
Publication date:
03/20/2012
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile:
700L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Sharelle Byars Moranville is the author of several books for children and teenagers, including Over The River, which Publishers Weekly said "mark[s] her as an author to watch." She also teaches creative writing. In her spare time, she can often be found with her hands immersed in the dirt of her garden in Iowa-the setting that helped inspire The Hop. You can see photographs by visiting www.sharellebyarsmoranville.com.

Niki Daly is an award-winning illustrator of numerous books for children, several of which he has also written. He lives with his wife, Jude Daly (also an illustrator), in the South African seaside resort of Kleinmond right next to a colony of toads who sing at night.

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