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)