Areta Bass Steele’s new children’s tale, “Amazing Mr. Frog” is available at online bookstores now (Borders.com and Amazon.com).

This is not your typical boy meets frog story; it starts out with Jim, a young boy who happens upon a strange talking frog on his way to the river. Jim learns that Mr. Frog is the result of an experiment by the mad scientist, Dr. Tootles. Mr. Frog had somehow escaped the clutches of the evil scientist but left his friends (other animals that Tootles had done strange experiments on) behind. Jim teams up with Mr. Frog and rescues them all. Only to find out, there is one other that needs to be rescued and that’s Eele Pe, a little fairy who just so happens to be a childhood playmate of Jim’s mom.

Now the story ideas and the characters are quite imaginative. Steele creates such colorful characters like Miss Pussy Willow Cat, Mr. Harry Tooth Beaver and the strange spring footed, Mr. Johnny Jump Up Grasshopper. But honestly, the writing is disjointed – the story has no flow. Chapters begin and end abruptly and each chapter seems like it can be a story in itself. I’m not an English Professor by any means, but I think if the chapters were flushed out and rewritten then the Author could really have a whole series of books based on Mr. Frog’s adventures. And, with such bright characters, this book could really benefit from an illustrator.

I’m giving Areta Bass Steele the benefit of the doubt for she had written poetry before this and is currently involved in a Writer’s group to polish her skills. I think she has a wonderful imagination and that the Amazing Mr. Frog has a lot of potential, but as it stands I’m not amazed and neither was my 2-year old daughter (She’s a harsher critic than I am).

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