Midway through this 14-volume British series, mad scientist Petty Potts follows her favorite experimental subjects, twins Josh and Danny Phillips, to summer camp with a new body-transforming concoction.
At this point, the storyline is just treading water. Having contrived to lift her buddies’ confiscated video games from the mean camp counsellor’s lockbox, reckless Charlie inadvertently drops the box’s key into a pond. Fortunately, Petty Potts has just arrived on the scene with a spray bottle of AMPHISWITCH, (the last syllable is an acronym for “Serum Which Instigates Total Cellular Hijack”), and in no time, the three children have been changed into small frogs. To the twins, who have been repeatedly turned into bugs in previous episodes, it’s all routine, but Charlie delightedly leaps into her new identity. Thanks to a hungry heron, she nearly croaks too, but following a narrow escape and froggy horseplay, the key is recovered and the games returned in the nick of time. Moreover, the physical effects turn out to be temporary—more or less. Collins supplies plenty of line drawings featuring wide-eyed children and amphibians. Sparkes tucks in a little natural history (as a frog, Danny discovers that insects “[taste] good! Like Cheetos”) and closes with a reading list, along with a lead-in to future misadventures.
Not much of a leap, plotwise, but it should hop off shelves where the series has spawned fans. (Fantasy. 7-9)