Secret of the Stone Frog HC
Publisher: Toon Books
Release Date: September 11, 2012
Price: $14.95
Creators: David Nytra
Format: 80 pgs., Black & White, Hardcover
ISBN: 978-1-9351-7918-4
Age Rating: 8 and up
ICv2 Rating: 3 Stars out of 5

This graphic novel, longer and for an older audience than most of the Toon releases so far, is not quite as well developed as their books for younger readers.  It is an ambitious book, a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Little Nemo in style and concept.  Two children, brother and sister, get dragged off into a strange dreamlike world, and must make their way home by following simple instructions. In typical fashion, they don’t follow those directions, and trouble ensues.

Giant bees and giant rabbits, fish in Victorian business garb, big-headed villains and talking police stations abound.

The artwork is good, but the nightmarish images used sometimes dominate the story.  While these scenes reinforce the dreamlike aspects of the story, the dream logic which accompanies the story leaves the tale feeling unresolved at the end.  While each panel is a delight to look at, in the end they fail to tell a whole as good as the parts.

There is no age rating given by the publisher, but it should be suitable for children old enough for Alice in Wonderland.

--Nick Smith: Librarian Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.