Once Upon a Toad: A Book Review


Once Upon a Toad

Once Upon a Toad by Heather Vogel Frederick

Summary: Once upon a time, Cat Starr lived with her astronaut mom in Houston. But when her mother gets sent on a long-term mission, Cat has to move to a far away land—her dad’s house, halfway across the country—and share a room with her real-life evil stepsister, Olivia. Just when Cat can’t take it anymore, Great-Aunt Abyssinia comes to the rescue. And things go from bad to worse. The next morning, Cat opens her mouth and a toad hops out! What’s more, when Olivia speaks, diamonds and flowers appear. How unfair is that? Before you can say “happily ever after,” the girls are on the run from jewel thieves and a government agency. Can Cat save the day—and get rid of all those toads?

{kindly taken from Goodreads}

My Thoughts: I will graciously read any book by Heather Vogel Frederick, no matter how crazy it is, ever since she impressed me with The Mother Daughter Book Club series. Thankfully, they are usually pretty good :) I have waited on this one {it came out last year} because I wasn’t sure how young of an audience it was meant for. Obviously, I should have picked it up sooner because it was so, so entertaining. Taking cues from other fairy tales, Frederick wrote a wacky, funny story about Cat Starr and her stepsister, Olivia. One day, Cat has toads popping out of her mouth and Olivia is shooting out diamonds and flowers whenever they speak! Their family, the doctors, the FBI are all stumped at what could be causing it. I won’t ruin it, but you can already tell what a fun story this is, right?! :) Cat was alright. She was developed quite fine, and I had no questions about her character, but I thought she could get a bit annoying and very focused on herself. Similarly, Olivia was also very self-centered, but I could tolerate Cat a little more than Olivia. I do think, however, that it was nice to see such strong female main characters, especially in this age group. I sometimes say that it was nice to see a smart MC in young adult books, but I think it’s even more important when it comes to the middle grade. I was really happy to see Olivia show some compassion in the middle and the end, but in the beginning, she was horrible. I hate to see people being bullied, in books and in real life. The plot was developed fine, but there were a few holes here and there. I wanted to know more about Great Aunt Aby’s connection to the family, and the ending felt very rushed for me. Overall, though, it was a delight to read.

Pros: Coolieo cover :) Hehe. No, really, developed characters and entertaining plot.

Cons: Rushed ending and a few plot holes.

Heads Up: Nothing!

Overall: I give it 4 1/2 stars {**** 1/2} and I recommend it for ages 11 and up.

Have a good night!

Bella :)


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