Uninterested in marrying Prince Jorge, Princess Emeralda (Emma) escapes to a nearby swamp and encounters Eadric, a prince-turned-frog. Emeralda kisses him to reverse the spell; however, the kiss backfires and Emeralda becomes a green-skinned frog. Emma and Eadric take a harrowing journey to break the spell. They are kidnapped by an incompetent, evil witch named Vannabe, but rescued by Li'l, the bat. Li'l and Fang, their new snake friend, escort them to Emeralda's castle, where Emeralda's Aunt Grassina aides them in recovering Emeralda's lost bracelet, a key in breaking the spell. Baker has added a twist to a popular Grimms tale; however, the story begins slow and characters are colorless. The plot could be tighter—Emma and Eadric's encounter with a nymph seems insignificant. Nonetheless, the story features crisp dialogue and is peppered with comedy. While the happy-ever-after ending is predictable, Emma and Eadric become friends, not lovers. The story will appeal primarily to young girls. 2002, Bloomsbury, 200 pp., Cole
Gr 4-6-An amusing fairy-tale adventure that takes the frog-turned-prince story a little further. Princess Emeralda is incredibly clumsy, she brays like a donkey when she laughs, and she would rather spend time outdoors or learning magic from her witch-aunt Grassina than marry self-centered Prince Jorge. When she runs off to the nearby swamp, she meets "Frog" who, naturally, claims to be an enchanted prince and begs her for a spell-breaking kiss. But when she finally complies, something goes terribly wrong, and suddenly Emma is a green-skinned, pond-hopping frog. She and Eadric spend the rest of the book trying to undo the spells that have bewitched them, struggling to avoid a dragon, a frog-eating dog, and an inept angry witch along the way. When they are finally released from their enchantments, it's clear they will live a happy-if rather unconventional-life together. Baker's characters, especially Emma and Eadric, are more than meets the eye. The tale moves at a good pace, and, though the happy ending is predictable, the trials and tribulations that precede it are interesting. However, it's difficult to determine the book's audience. While the story would appeal to primary to intermediate grade girls, the vocabulary is rather sophisticated and seems to be more suited to young adults. Perhaps it would work best as a read-aloud. For fairy-tale themes more in tune with their specific audiences, turn to Donna Jo Napoli's The Prince of the Pond (Dutton, 1992) for intermediates, and her Zel (Puffin, 1998) or Beast (Atheneum, 2000) for the older crowd.-Nancy Menaldi-Scanlan, LaSalle Academy, Providence, RI Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
Taking a princess's-eye view, Baker reworks the traditional story into high-spirited romantic comedy. Desperate for any alternative to a forced marriage, Princess Emma nerves herself to kiss a talking frog--and turns into one herself. As curses can only be removed by the witch who casts them, Emma and glib new acquaintance Prince Eadric of Upper Montevista set out to hunt her up. Fraught with dangers and punctuated with droll interludes as Emma struggles to get the hang of her new limbs and tongue, this shared quest is, naturally, just the ticket for cementing a close relationship. Boastful, libidinous, tender of ego, reckless, and unable to look beyond the next meal, Eadric is less archetypal hero than typical specimen of inept male, but he does have a good heart, and by the time the two achieve human form again, Emma will have no other--for a friend, that is: marriage will have to wait until she finishes a course in witchcraft. Like Donna Jo Napoli's Prince of the Pond (1992), this gives the well-known folktale a decidedly less than "Grimm" cast, and fans of Gail Carson Levine's "Princess Tales" should leap for it. (Fiction. 11-13)
High-spirited romantic comedy. . . . Fans of Gail Carson Levine's Princess Tales should leap for it.” Kirkus Reviews on The Frog Princess
“As magically adventurous as fantasy can get.” VOYA on Dragon's Breath
“Baker's vividly imagined fantasy world . . . [is] irresistible and loaded with humor.” VOYA on Once Upon a Curse
“Kids will get a kick out of the hip Shrek vibe that Baker creates in this updated fairy tale.” School Library Journal on No Place for Magic