(Book Review) Exploring The Fantasy World of E.D. Baker

Phyl CampbellStarred Page By Phyl Campbell, 25th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/1t8-xhsh/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Children's Books

I happen to be a sucker for fairy tales. Especially fairy tales with awkward and intelligent princesses who rely on cunning and wit more than vapid beauty. So far, the works of E.D. Baker, beginning with THE FROG PRINCESS do not disappoint.

Frog Princess Series

I came across four books of The Frog Princess series at an elementary school yard sale, where teachers were paring down their class sets. Sadly, I got books 1,2,3, and 5, and am missing book 4 and 6,7,8. But at a buck each with no sales tax, I can correct that at a later date, and in the meantime, have put in a hold request at my local library. After The Frog Princess, author E.D. Baker has two more fairy series and another book due out in October. Since I don't have the whole series like I thought, and major story arcs are resolved in the first three books, I felt a review of this nature was appropriate. Reviewing each book separately made spoilers too tempting.

Predictable, But Next Books Better

The first book in the series was just all right. By and large it was a very predictable story. I was surprised to learn that Disney had optioned the movie rights from Baker, and from it made The Princess and the Frog. Baker’s version credits the Brothers’ Grimm version, but the only real similarities between the tales stories are the girl (who kisses a frog and becomes a frog) and the prince who was cursed to be a frog. There are many frog-to-human stories. Hans Christian Anderson also has one, so does Andrew Lang. There are Russian versions, Italian versions, and English versions. Sometimes the girl is the frog, sometimes the boy. Sometimes the humans are princes and princesses, other times they are common folk. The common thread is the frog helping the human in some way, and (usually) ending up human as a result.

More Adventures

However, Dragon Breath and Once Upon a Curse, the second and third books of the series, allow the Frog Princess Emma to delve into her magic and have more cunning plots than the first book in the series. However, once the curse –the curse that has plagued the women in Emma’s family since the first book – is broken – I won’t say how – in the third, I wonder what adventures will be left for Emma and her beloved Eadric (former frog, now fully Prince).

Will Kids Like the Series?

Most kids who pick up an E.D. Baker book will not have read Lang, Anderson, or Grimm in the original.

They probably will have seen the Disney movie. They probably won’t object too much to the kissing part by the end – just like Emma. For those reasons, I’d give the first book three stars and the next two four stars each. On the one hand, there are very few original concepts out there, and fairy tales are certainly done and changed constantly -- so it takes a lot for me to be impressed by another slant on the overdone fairy tale, though I will still indulge myself in the easy read. On the other hand, Baker’s retellings are smart and easy for young people to read and understand. Amazon lists the age range of this book to be 8 to 13, and grade level third and up. So children who are graduating from Magic Tree House should be excited to get their hands on these. And for adults who are young at heart, these books are fun, light reads for the indulgent spirit. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

Images for this article are courtesy Goodreads (all book covers), Disney/IMDB of the Princess and the Frog (movie poster), and WikiCommons -- Brother's Grimm Frog Prince. The video retelling of the Frog Prince is YouTube, a librevox.org (and public domain) recording.

Other Reviews for You to Enjoy

People who like fairy tales generally also appreciate paranormal and fantasy adventures. To this end, see my reviews of:

Almost Magic

Magic Wakes

The Fledgling

Dystopian Fiction

Divergent

Wall and the Wing

Artemis Fowl

Her Blood's Warning

Of course, I also hope you might check out my books: The Mother Confessor Series falls under the dystopian and science fiction genres. Here's a book flap summary of each:

Mother Confessor Book One:
To the people of Community, Mother Confessor is an ageless storyteller. However, her chilling tale of kidnapping, murder, and mayhem pays homage to actual events that mar Community's past. Is anyone safe in Community? How many secrets does Mother Confessor keep?

Mother Confessor Book Two:
While passing the summer in Washington, DC, Emily receives an official-looking notice in the mail. A bizarre piece of news threatens to tear her family apart. Judi's meddling is rearing its ugly head, and the Mother Confessor's own guilt points to her role in ultimate betrayal. Can handsome Gideon, thoughtful Bertie, or resourceful Emily stop Judi – and the Mother Confessor? Or will these events become yet another tragic tale for the children of Community?

Finally, to see all my articles, reviews, and even chapters of works in progress, visit my homepage here on Wikinut.

Tags

Book, Book Review, Ed Baker, Fairy Tale, Frog Prince, Frog Princess, Phyl Campbell, Princess And The Frog

Meet the author

author avatar Phyl Campbell
I am "Author, Mother, Dreamer." I am also teacher, friend, Dr. Pepper addict, night-owl. Visit my website -- phylcampbell.com -- or the "Phyl Campbell Author Page" on Facebook.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
26th Aug 2014 (#)

how wonder filled is this...i too love fairy tales...once they told of how good conquers all..unfortunately the world we live in is where bad does the same bloody thing...just look around!!!!!!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks, Carolina! Yes, I needed a fantasy-filled escape!!

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
26th Aug 2014 (#)

me too me darlin' hard indeed to live in this world...

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author avatar snerfu
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Lovely review and plenty of frogs. I like frogs unless they want to kiss me...and I don't wanna be a frog...anymore.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Oh, Snerfu... I bet you made the Froggiest Prince if ever there were. But it sure isn't easy being green, I will say that much!! Thanks for the hearty chuckle!!

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author avatar Retired
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Fairy tales fill children's minds with possibilities ... and give adults the perspectives of children.
Great review!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks -- and thanks for your message. You'll see my initial response on your Frogga page.

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author avatar joyalariwo
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Nice review Phyl... life indeed would be interesting, if it was a fairy tale....?

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Sure enough. I haven't seen you in a while, joyalriwo. Hope life is treating you very well.

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author avatar Retired
26th Aug 2014 (#)

An informative review so nicely written. Frogs. I'll have to reserve my opinion on frog-kissing and also on frog/human metamorphosis.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Ha Ha, Mike! Thanks! I do believe it is called "escapism" for a reason. Sometimes checking out of reality is absolutely necessary!! ;)

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author avatar Retired
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Frog-kissing sounds like eewscapism. I'm currently escaping in Steven King's "The Stand" - a (second version) novel of over 1,400 pages.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Aug 2014 (#)

I've seen some King on TV and love Shawshank Redemption, but I confess I've never read anything beyond his writing shorts. I don't sleep much at night, but I like to not be scared by clowns (and other things)when I do!

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author avatar Retired
26th Aug 2014 (#)

I am unable to buy English language novels (or technical books for that matter) where I live in Indonesia. I go to bookshops when I am in Singapore for that. My son insists that I add all sorts of books to his growing collection, and because he likes to read anything and everything, his collection is quite diverse.

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author avatar Retired
26th Aug 2014 (#)

A '60s novel I am unable to find and I think my son would really like is "The Carpetbaggers" by Harold Robbins. My own book collection was left behind when I left England many years ago.

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author avatar Carol
26th Aug 2014 (#)

A great review, fairy tales are lovely!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks, Carol!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Hmm. Carpetbaggers is on Kindle/Amazon for under $8.

I've heard of HR, but I don't own any of his books, and don't remember reading any by him. I think a parent had one on the shelf at some point, but who owned it and whether it was liked are not for me to say.

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author avatar Retired
26th Aug 2014 (#)

The Carpetbaggers caused an uproar when it was published - more even than Lady Chatterley's Lover. It is not a novel for the squeamish.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
26th Aug 2014 (#)

I see. (Chuckles)

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
27th Aug 2014 (#)

Yes, we need escapism from our world where the cruel grab the headlines with the majority feeling, or rather feigning, helpless. I wish I too had time to read more fairy tales that were not available when I was young - I rather missed the boat. Thanks Phyl for the review - siva

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
27th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks, Siva!!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
28th Aug 2014 (#)

Another Wikinut shared with me his excellent frog prince story. You may be interested to visit: http://nut.bz/320-wkg6/ 

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
9th Sep 2014 (#)

Awesome review my dear Phyl, I should get you in touch with a gal by the name of Tiffany Hayden, I'll get you some of her books titles and see if she can get you some access!

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
9th Sep 2014 (#)

Cool. Thanks, Fern!

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author avatar Kingwell
15th Sep 2014 (#)

I too love fairy tales.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
15th Sep 2014 (#)

Thanks, Kingwell!

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