HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: An Army of Frogs: A Kulipari Novel
Author: Trevor Pryce with Joel Naftali
Illustrator: Sanford Greene
Publisher: Amulet Books, 2013
Related website: http://www.amuletbooks.com (publisher)
Language level: 2
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Reading level: Ages 8-12
Rating: ***** 5 stars (EXCELLENT)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Pryce, Trevor, with Naftali, Joel. An Army of Frogs: A Kulipari Novel (published in 2013 by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams, 115 W. 18th St., New York City, NY 10011). What can a group of frogs do when their home is attacked by an army of scorpions, spiders, and lizards? Darel is a young frog who lives with his mother and siblings, along with his friends Gurnugan or Gee, Coorah, Arabanoo, their families, and all the other frogs under the leadership of Chief Olba in the Amphibilands of Australia. For years, they have been protected by an elite group of poisonous frogs known as the Kulipari and by the dreamcasting spell of the Turtle King Sergu. However, the scorpions want the Amphibilands, and in the previous battle of the Hidingwar, when King Sergu set up his protecting veil, the Kulipari were nearly destroyed and those left went away to regroup. One of them was Darel’s father. Most believe that Darel’s father was killed, but Darel still thinks that he may be alive.
Now the scorpions under Lord Marmoo and Commander Pigo have joined forces with the spiders under Queen Jarrah who had learned dreamcasting from Sergu but then turned it into nightcasting for evil purposes. She believes that she can destroy the veil, thus allowing the scorpions and spiders to conquer the Amphibilands. While out on a mission to gather flowers for the healers’ medicines, Darel and Gee happen to see the invaders’ advance party, but when Gee runs back to warn the other frogs, he is captured. Darel first needs to rescue him from the scorpion camp, and then they hopefully can get across the Outback to notify the Turtle King and see if they can find the Kulipari. Will they make it? Will the frogs be able to defend their homes from the scorpions? And will Darel ever find his father?
An Army of Frogs is the first of an intended series of Kulipari novels. The plot by Trevor Pryce, a fourteen-year veteran of the National Football League, with Joel Naftali is certainly action-packed, and will be great for reluctant readers with its short chapters and fast pace. Also, though it is fantasy fiction, it has a bit of natural science information about frogs, scorpions, spiders, and other animals of Australia. And the cartoon-like drawings by illustrator Sanford Greene will appeal to comic book aficionados. The authors do seem to use the word “butt,” as in “kick butt” and “get your skinny green butt in here,” several times. Many parents will have no problem with this, but some find that it gets a little old after a while. Otherwise, there is really nothing objectionable, just an imaginative and exciting adventure story with a classic good versus evil theme, a likeable hero, and a surprise ending.