Saint John Don Bosco:

"Never read books you aren't sure about . . . even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: Would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"

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Friday, September 9, 2011

The Frog Princess by E.D. Baker

I got a kick out of this frog story. (Sorry. I couldn’t help it.) It’s figuratively true.

Princess Emeralda visits the swamp by the castle while avoiding an unsuitable suitor and kisses a frog. Something goes wrong with the spell, and she ends up a frog as well. Prince Eadric,aka Prince Eadric the frog, and she are off on an adventure. Besides learning how to be a frog, Emma and Eadric have to evade predators, trust ssssuspicious snakes, and make their way back to Emma’s castle where her witch, literally, of an aunt can help them.

It’s a fun adventure from a fresh perspective.

Generally, witches in fairy tales don’t pose a problem to me. Emma’s aunt is a good witch more analogous to Glenda in Oz than a proselytizing case for Wiccans. Spells take the form of rhymes that are somewhat silly in nature.

However, I like my witches to stay in their designated roles, and I get a bit cautious when magic’s portrayed as a skill anyone can be born with an aptitude for. Emma apparently has a “flair” for. It might be more a problem that we live in a time where genuine witchcraft and magic is being sold to our kids rather than this particular book. I’ve certainly seen proselytizing for Wicca in more and more books, so I give you this to consider.

Having said that, two of my favorite scenes were the description of Glassina’s room: with the detailed tapestry of a town which you don’t want to touch since the lion in it took a nip of Emma’s finger. And the witches in retirement get to choose some interesting cottages: like the one with chicken feet that can walk.

What bothered me most about the book wasn’t even the book. Ours was a new copy that came with advertising in the back that I didn’t like much: “Calling all Goddesses.” (uhhh, thanks, but we’re having enough trouble becoming saints.)…

SAFETY RATING: 2 Flags (well-catechized tweens should be fine)

See: Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2117


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