Official Review: Frog Hotel by Susan Bryant

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NL Hartje
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Official Review: Frog Hotel by Susan Bryant

Post by NL Hartje » 09 May 2018, 20:21

[Following is an official review of "Frog Hotel" by Susan Bryant.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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Oh, where to go, where to hide as we plan our escape pell-mell? Why, just past the meadow and through the fog and there it is—Frog Hotel! Susan Bryant drizzles readers with delicate imagery and concerned prose as she details the circumstances around which a pair of young boys find themselves at Frog Hotel. Not entirely different from the “Hotel California,” Bryant’s hotel is a place for its inhabitants to grow, experience, and be free.

Adopted twins, Calverd and Doclad, are living the lives of neglected, mistreated children forced to sleep in a closet under the stairs and fill their bellies with nothing but gruel. Continually searching to escape their cycle of sadness, they acknowledge a whim one afternoon and decide to follow a loudly croaking frog down an unfamiliar path. As the mysterious amphibian begins to glow and hop faster, Calverd and Doclad chase it through a haze and stumble upon a twinkling hotel in the middle of a meadow.

Not willing to question their luck, the twins fall into step with the routines of the establishment and happily complete “chores” to keep the proprietor from turning them out. For the first time since they can remember they have clean clothes, warm meals, and real beds. It seems too good to be true, but their good fortunes continue to mount. If only the lurking “Mystery Man” would leave them alone and stop startling them, they could perhaps be invited to stay forever. . .

I enjoyed most everything about this book. It encompasses the perfect amount of whimsy to entice young readers and enough kind-hearted deeds to make any adult smile. Walls they can walk through, and grounds that change to meet the guests’ needs highlight the fantasy of the hotel’s magic. It’s charming that the list of “rules” the boys must abide by is no more than an instruction guide to appreciating their new privileges. For example, one mandate is that they “get strong” by eating at least three hearty meals a day and enjoying no less than two snacks.

This book is undoubtedly meant for the big-kid to pre-teen audience that loves adventure. The print is large, and the illustrator (Marty Petersen) included creative pictures at the beginning of each chapter to set the scene. The depictions of the hotel and numerous frogs captured my imagination with their fanciful flourishes and details, but I was slightly disappointed with the portrayal of the twins. In the artwork, they are presented as somewhat otherworldly; they have elongated necks, oval-shaped heads, and sunken chins. If there were a downfall to this delightful story, that would be it.

Following Bryant down her “weird-wonderful” rabbit hole proves that she knows the heart of a child and appreciates finding inspiration in the mundane. Well-edited, beautifully illustrated, and overall smile-inducing, Frog Hotel receives 4 out of 4 stars from me. Following two boys who’ve never been hugged before just might plant seeds of thankfulness in the children lucky enough to read this book for themselves.

Frog Hotel
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Post by bb587 » 11 May 2018, 07:49

That sounds like an adorable book! The "rules" seem especially cute! Seems like a good book for kids that are getting better at reading. It's sometimes hard to find a book like that.

Thanks for the review! It's clear you truly enjoyed reading this one.

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Post by Sahani Nimandra » 11 May 2018, 07:54

Haha! I can see why you are happy with this book. It brought smiles to me just by reading your review, I was wondering what the book would do. The orphan boys reminded me of oliver twist but I don't think these two stories have the same plot development. This book sounds like a more fantasy read which is good to run away from troubles. Thank you!
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Post by kandscreeley » 11 May 2018, 08:16

This story sounds amazingly enticing! I love the cover and the premise of the story. It sounds like it might help other kids who have dealt with less than ideal circumstances in their young lives. Thanks so much for a great review on this one.
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Post by amyghilton » 11 May 2018, 08:42

Excellent review! It sounds like a great book with characters that many children could relate to and would offer some sense of comfort in the circumstances they are in. Can't wait to read it for myself!

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Post by SABRADLEY » 11 May 2018, 09:22

What a delightful story. Sounds like a book perfect for kids to read alone or with their parents. I like the magical elements as well as the mystery. Thanks for a great review!

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Post by sanjus » 11 May 2018, 11:28

Kids love puzzle mixed adventure stories and this review gives glimpse of it. The characters and their initial life style described sounds much familiar scenes of popular kids book.

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Post by Libs_Books » 11 May 2018, 11:31

This sounds delightful - your review really brings out the charm. I take your point about the artwork, though, and I do wonder ....why frogs? Is it just part of the general topsy-turviness of it all? Perhaps you can't say without giving away spoilers.

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Post by Kendra M Parker » 11 May 2018, 12:30

This sounds like a lovely and fun book, but I find myself frustrated with the sense that someone who adopted or fostered the twins must necessarily be rather cruel. It is sadly a common stereotype in literature, but I hate to see it since I am someone who adopted two kids. That quickly puts me in a position where I don’t think I could read this with my kids since that sort of picture tends to harm the trust I work so hard to build with my kids. Maybe I could find a way to align myself with the Frog Hotel itself, but even that has its own issues in helping my kids relate to this story. At any rate, that is not your fault as the reviewer, and I’m sure the author simply needed a reason for these kids to want to run away and stay away. Still, I wish that some other reason could have been found. The joy and whimsy that you describe sound like so much fun. Thank you for your review! It’s great to know a little bit about what is in a book before I tackle it with my kids. :D

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Post by Delilish6 » 11 May 2018, 18:59

Based on the analytical prospective of the book it seems more like a child's nightmare. Although, the primary focus of the story's title portraiture of frogs, the truth has been unfolded by the nature of neglect and child punishment. However, for a psychotherapist who needs a psychology thriller to review for research this book very well maybe ideal. Although, I would consider reading it, in a personal prompt I would prefer another story plot. (Interest review post)

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Post by Miriam Molina » 12 May 2018, 17:51

Frogs? These slimy creatures do not enthrall me, although I admit that Kermit has a huge following, and at least one of them could be a prince!

The author seems to have succeeded with the story though, considering your enthusiastic response. I enjoyed your happy review, NL Hartje!

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Post by Ginnamassa19 » 13 May 2018, 04:13

This book sounds like a good fireplace read--heartwarming and utterly adorable! It feels like a good story to share with younger children :) Thank you for your review!

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Post by Kemunto lucy » 13 May 2018, 06:23

This book has life lessons that one should take note of. It sounds like an exciting read. Thank you for the nice review.

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Post by trajoe1206 » 13 May 2018, 17:39

Thanks for the great review. This seems like a lovely story

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Post by gen_g » 14 May 2018, 10:00

This looks like a very interesting read! Thank you for the lovely review.

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