Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs by Ursula Vernon (Canada) - (US)
Dragonbreath series, Book 2
Pages: 206 pages
Finished: Mar. 19, 2010
First Published: Feb. 4, 2010
Publisher: Dial Books
Genre: children, fantasy, action, comics hybrid
Feudal Japan. Lord Dragonbreath , Ruler of an Ancient Samurai Clan, addresses his troops on the eve of battle.
Acquired: Received a review copy from Penguin Group Canada.
Reason for Reading: Read aloud to my 9yo ds over the March Break.
Summary: Danny has his mind full of imaginary samurai scenarios and watches ninja movies every night because of his current Japanese warfare obsession. Plus ninjas are cool! Then a Japanese exchange student comes to school for a while, Suki Salamander, and Wendell falls a bit in love with her which makes Danny nauseated. Until he finds out that frog ninjas are trying to kidnap Suki. So the three take off to visit Danny's great-grandfather, an expert in the field, who will be able to tell them how to rid themselves of these Ninjas and why they want Suki in the first place.
Comments: I thought the first Dragonbreath book was so-so but my son enjoyed it very much and with a title of "Attack of the Ninja Frogs" we just had read the next one. I'll say I'm glad I did as this one was much more fun (for me) than the first. Obviously a cute story, definitely aimed at boys. Plenty of humour that had both of us laughing and ds was up out of his seat doing his ninja moves at the appropriate times; I even joined in with a few special ninja moves of my own!
The artwork is cute and cartoony. The comic style portions of the book are interwoven throughout and are a part of the story, they can't be skipped. This style of book is becoming known as a hybrid part textual novel/part graphic novel. However, the graphic sequences are kept shorter than are found in the first book. They were kept more to short sequences on the bottom of the page or the occasional full page but were hardly any that ran for more than two pages. Overall, the book does come out to be profusely illustrated rarely showing two pages of plain text without illustration.
The story is quite entrancing; what boy doesn't want to go join up with samurais against ninjas? While all this action is going on there is the back story of Wendall "liking" Suki and being embarrassed and not knowing how to act around her while Danny thinks girls have "cooties" and teases Wendall about having a girlfriend. By the end they both learn a lesson that perhaps doesn't extend to all girldom but has taught them that Suki is not an intimidating girl, no Suki is simply their friend. This whole storyline went way over my sons head though. He has no problems with girls. Except mushy stuff like kissing then he's grossed out but no kissing in this book. My son had never even heard the word "cooties" before and I didn't elaborate on it much, not necessary to tell him about all the rude cootie games and songs we played when I was a kid (LOL)
At the end of the book we are tempted by an announcement that a third book will be coming soon and ds is already sure he wants continue with Danny in Dragonbreath:Curse of the Were-Wiener.