From School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Flinn reimagines a fairy-tale world in her latest novel. Teenaged Johnny works as a cobbler in his mother's shoe repair shop in a posh hotel in South Beach. He spends his days with his friend Meg and designs his own line of shoes while dreaming of wealth to free his family from the confines of poverty. Unexpectedly, the striking Princess Victoriana of Aloria comes to the swanky Miami hotel for a royal visit. The super-hot partying princess pleads for Johnny's help in finding her missing brother, and offers of money and a royal marriage convince him to take her seriously-even when she explains that the prince has been turned into a frog. With the aid of a magical cloak and some headphones that allow him to hear animals speak, Johnny embarks on a journey wherein he encounters talking swans, a fox named Todd, and two angry giants. When he lands in hot water with an evil witch bent on destroying him, Meg comes to his rescue. The pair journey from South Beach to Key West, to Europe, and to Manhattan; and in the end, Johnny finds wealth, fame, and true love. Flinn cleverly plays on some lesser-known fairy tales to make this book a fun, romantic adventure with likable characters. Rapid action and amusing situations make it a quick read that will easily entice even reluctant readers.-Tara Kehoe, Plainsboro Public Library, NJ (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
A princess, a cobbler, a witch, and modern-day South Beach mash up in Flinn�s latest fairy-tale retelling. Johnny works tirelessly in a luxury hotel�s shoe-repair shop, dreaming of becoming a high-end shoe designer. He sees an opportunity to get his shoes on famous feet when a hard-partying European princess moves in. Victoriana notices Johnny, too, and thinks he is just the one to find her brother, Prince Philippe, who was turned into a frog as blackmail for Victoriana�s hand in marriage. She gives Johnny a fistful of cash, a transporting cloak, and an earpiece that allows him to understand animals that used to be human, which are a lot more plentiful in Florida than he ever imagined. Instead of a well-known classic, several lesser-known tales combine here to give the book a nice blend of the familiar (the frog who needs a kiss to transform) and the novel (how will a puny kid best two giants?). Readers will keep turning pages to figure out just how many transmogrifications Johnny can resolve, and whose dreams will come true. Grades 6-10. --Heather Booth
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