Review posted May 25, 2009.
G. P. Putnam's Sons, 2009. 186 pages.
Okay, I admit. When I read the first chapter of this book, it reminded me way too much of the Spy Kids movie that my children watched until it nauseated me. I wasn't at all sure I could finish the book.
However, I found that, at least in small portions at a time, I began to be intrigued to learn in what over-the-top way Doc Wilde and his children Brian and Wren would get the better of the sinister amazonian frogs of doom. The less I took it seriously, the more fun I had reading it. For me, this did require only a few chapters at a time, but once I got in the habit, I did find myself coming back for more each night.
The book is described as a tribute to the old pulp adventure novels. That is perhaps my problem -- I never was a fan of those books. But I am looking forward to having this book on the library shelves. I think it will be a natural choice for young comic book fans ready for a little more text and a lot of rollicking adventure.
The story is indeed over-the-top. Brian and Wren take after their father -- tanned, golden-haired, strong, agile, good-looking, and incredibly smart. Throw in being magnificently wealthy with all kinds of high-tech gadgets invented by Doc Wilde himself, and you won't be surprised when they get out of every life-threatening situation thrown at them. The fun comes in at how they get out of it this time.
I like the villains -- sinister mutant frogs of various shapes and sizes, some with razor-sharp teeth. There's something simply inherently silly about Frogs of Doom.
Again, I think this might be a great pick for reluctant readers, especially young boys who like adventure. It's just silly enough and adventurous enough to provide heroic escape.