Our Principal Is a Frog! (QUIX)
This imaginative I Can Read (Fast Fun Reads) is poised to grab the attention of distracted children who might be busy on their devices instead of sitting with a book. To make the seduction work, the series features word lists, table of contents, about the book questions, shot chapters, large fonts.
Calmenson, acclaimed in her own right, has collaborated with Magic School Bus author Joanna Cole, and Blecha’s work is known for the George Brown Class Clown series.
So let the mayhem begin! And it does when Marty Q. Marvel, a visiting magician inadvertently turns the principal, beloved Mr. Barnaby Bundy, into a frog.
“Whoops,” says the hapless magician, “that trick never worked before.” Then he disappears, leaving the frog principal to find his way. “Even though I’m small, green and slimy, I can still be a good principal, can’t I?” he muses.
That is the core of the story. So as his tongue reaches out for random flies, and he swims laps in the sink, he’s still determined to be the best frog principal possible.
The ending leaves Marty Q. Marvel out of the equation, which was an odd choice, since he starts the action with such fanfare, but in the end, balance is restored to Mr. Bundy, who, as a human, still retains the habit of occasionally swallowing the random fly.
The format is small with amusing, goofy line drawings. Random bolded words: some clearly challenging, like amphibians, scrawled, or trampled do make identifying new vocabulary that much easier. But other simple words like poof, or whoops, were also bolded for some unknown reason.
The word list at the end is a wonderful aid for new readers and offers them the opportunity to enjoy expanding their language skills while having fun in a book that almost seems to have animated sound effects. The good news is that the adventure comes to life.