Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dragonbreath and Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs by Ursula Vernon

Double Feature is an occasional feature where I discuss/review two books, often comparing and contrasting characters or elements that were similar or different.  I try my best to not include spoilers, or to give a spoiler warning before them, but because these reviews are more in-depth than regular reviews, it is possible there might be some plot points given away.  Read at your own risk.

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Publisher: Dial
Publication date: June 2009
ISBN: 9780803733633
Source: Library 

Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs by Ursula Vernon
Publisher: Dial
Publication date: February 2010
ISBN: 9780803733657
Source: Library

DragonbreathDragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs 

Summary book 1:
Danny Dragonbreath definitely is not your typical student at the amphibian/reptile school he attends.  Being the only mythical creature there, it is especially hard to not be able to breathe fire and prove he is a dragon.  But, when he doesn't do so well on his report of the ocean, he can call on his cousin the sea serpent to help him out.  Actually seeing and touching underwater creatures, especially the giant squid, is much more thrilling than simply reading about them.

Summary book 2:
In Danny and Wendell's next adventure, the foreign exchange student Suki is being stalked by ninja frogs.  The boys must visit Japan in order to find out just why those ninja frogs are after her.  Can Danny find his fire breathing abilities in time to save them from the deadly frogs?

Things I Liked about both:
The books are short and so, so funny. They have this quirky cast of reptiles, amphibians and, of course, Danny the dragon.  He and his best pal Wendell the iguana sound very much like typical tween boys, avoiding homework and bullies left and right, having first time crushes on cute girls.  It is full of tween humor and absolute silliness, plus the mix of comic strips, illustrations, and text make these books an easy choice for reluctant readers. Here are some of my favorite funny parts from both:

Danny hated standing still for anything.  It was just dragonish nature.  Dragons slept on their hoards, they fought knights, they occasionally flew around terrorizing peasants, but they didn't usually stand still.  (It's worth noting that Danny's parents had never terrorized a peasant in their lives, and Danny's mother always volunteered to bring goodies to the school bake sale, but really, it was the principle of the thing.) p 16-17, book 1
A ferocious predator, what the common potato salad lacks in bone structure, it more than makes up for in viciousness.  A school of potato salad can skeletonize a cow in under two weeks, assuming that the cow doesn't get bored and move. p 30, book 1
He was feeling rather disillusioned by the whole adventure.  Ninjas were apparently jerks, and Suki didn't want to be a ninja queen.  Plus, there was no super-secret kung fu technique for breathing fire, and the grand quest to find the enemies of the Spurtongue Clan involved a fifteen-minute walk and a mailbox.  If they made a king fu movie out of this adventure, it would probably be called Savage Fist of Boredom. p 106-107, book 2
Things I Didn't Like about both: 
They are very light on plot.  There isn't much purpose to the books, except to tell a funny story with maybe a little learning about the ocean or about Japanese culture on the side.  Simple, quick, and entertaining, but not much else.
Adventures of Ook and Gluk and other Dav Pilkey books

s-factor: none

mrg-factor: none

v-factor: none

Overall rating: ****

Posted as part of Tween Tuesday, hosted by GreenBeanTeenQueen.

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