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“Real live ninjas, a trip to mythological Japan, and pizza for dinner two nights running. Could life get any better?” Danny –Attack of the Ninja Frogs
Attack of the Ninja Frogs
by Ursula Vernon
AR Test, Good for Reluctant Readers
Danny Dragonbreath knows girls are nothing but trouble. And the new foreign exchange student, Suki the Salamander, is the worst: she’s reduced his best friend, Wendell, to a blithering, lovesick tadpole. But when a group of ninja frogs attempt to kidnap her, Danny knows he must step in. Danny and Wendell have watched lots of kung fu movies and can totally take on a bunch of ninja frogs. Or, um, so Danny hopes . . .
Readers will be able to relate to Danny who is a daydreaming, comic-loving dragon who longs for adventure and pizza. The friendship between Danny and Wendell is one of the best and funniest parts of the story. Danny and Wendell are complete opposites, and yet they are amazing friends who always help each other. For example, when Wendell walked towards the school bully, “Danny, realizing that Wendell was about to do something profoundly stupid, hurried after him. (He wasn’t quite clear on whether he was going to stop Wendell doing something stupid, or help him do something stupid, but after all, that’s what friends are for.)”
Attack of the Ninja Frogs will entertain and delight readers who want a fun adventure with plenty of surprises. Even though some of the story revolves around girl stereotypes, such as girls having cooties, Suki’s smarts and skills are what eventually save the three friends. The frog ninjas want Suki to be their leader, which upsets Suki because she wants to be a veterinarian.
The humorous story has black and green illustrations that appear on almost every page. Drawings with dialogue balloons help break up the text and keep the action moving. Cool ninja facts and information about the Japanese culture are woven into the story. Even though the majority of the book is easy to read, the story does have some advanced sentence structure and vocabulary. Dragonbreath will get even the most reluctant readers engaged in a suspenseful story about ninjas, dragons, and friendship.
- Danny thinks that Wendell has a girlfriend. “Wendell and Suki both glared at him, then sighed simultaneously. As horrible as the notion of losing his best friend to love’s saccharine clutches was, Danny was starting to think they were made for each other. How revolting.”
- Before Suki returns to Japan, she gives Wendell and Danny a hug. Danny thinks, “I suppose now I’ve got cooties.” Wendell is illustrated with a dazed expression and hearts dance around his head.
- The school bully blocks Suki’s path. Wendell and Danny come to her aid. The bully leaves when Danny tells him, “Did you know somebody wrote something rude about you in the second-floor bathroom?”
- Frog Ninjas attack Suki. “Suki was hanging between two creatures, kicking at them and slapping furiously with her tail. . . Suki’s attackers were identical. They wore black suits that covered everything but their eyes, and they had broad, sticky pads on their fingers.
- The three friends walk into a trap and are caught up in a net. A frog ninja cuts them out, and “the trio of kids crashed to the ground with a thud.” The frogs tie their hands and lead them to their hideout.
- Frog ninjas tie Danny and Wendell and swing them out to the center of a volcano. “A blast of hot air roared off the volcano, like standing in front of an oven, only a lot worse.” As the two argue, Danny cuts the rope holding them. Before they can hit the lava, a crane catches them and flies them to safety.
- A fight between the salamanders and the ninja frogs appears on two pages. The three friends escape and return home.
Drugs and Alcohol
- Wendell calls Danny an idiot three times; Suki calls Danny an idiot once; Danny calls Wendell an idiot once.
- When Wendell and Danny see ninja frogs, Danny exclaims OMG, which is used multiple times.
- In order to get advice, the friends go to Danny’s great-grandfather who tells Suki that, “I will need to look into your past lives.” Danny’s great-grandfather touches her head with his hands. After a few minutes, he tells Danny, “Your little friend is the reincarnation of the great warrior Leaping Sword, who used to rule the Spurtongue Clan of ninja frogs a few years ago.” Because of her past life, the frog ninjas want Suki to lead them.