April 17, 2018

Macky Reads Charlie and Frog

Charlie Tickler’s parents don’t have time for him. They would rather rescue giant golden moles and send Charlie off the boarding school than spend time with him. While in Africa, Charlie stays with his aging and very silly grandparents... who don’t really have much time for him either. But everything changes when Charlie stumbles upon a mystery that leads him to Francine “Frog” Castle, mystery enthusiast and budding super-sleuth. 

That Frog just happens to be deaf is both intriguing and amazing because, of the two, she’s the one who is pretty much consistently stepping on the gas and moving things forward. This is great because it brings the best out of poor Charlie, who at the start of our tale just wanted a place to belong. So, to find a solid base in Frog (who herself is rock solid, planted firmly in her Castle-on-the-Hudson community) is a breath of actual air for Charlie. She would rather much be solving mysteries than waitressing at the Flying Hands CafĂ© anyway, so she’s just as stoked to have met Charlie and the potential murder-mystery he has brought to her doorstep.

My experience reading this book was fun. Every chapter title is spelled out in regular words with American Sign Language letters beneath them. Was I signing these on the train and brushing up on my ASL letters? Yes. Eventually, the chapter titles had illustrations of the signs themselves. So me reading through this was basically following Charlie and Frog around town digging up all sorts of information and getting into all sorts of situations… and brushing up on the sign language. 

I believe the author Karen Kane (based on the author’s notes/dedication she wrote) is pretty close to a deaf community and has her real life relationships with them to credit for how seamless and engaging the integration of that aspect into the story has been. That there are several deaf characters in the book that are four dimensional in size and depth is, to me, such amazing representation. That the author is able to break the language gap and get people communicating on a real and true level just added to the great experience reading this book and honestly made me want to learn ASL. And that Frog herself is the one who’s large and in charge, but has no problems letting others take point makes her one of the most compelling middle grade characters out there. That she also happens to be deaf adds a dynamic and a flavor that just makes you believe in a better world. Whatever Karen Kane did, and just like one of her favorite signs in ASL, That - we need more of that. 

Charlie & Frog is out now and available everywhere.

Charlie & Frog by Karen Kane
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion | Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Source: Hardcover sent by the publisher (Thanks!)


  1. Lovely review Macky :D I'm glad you liked this book a lot. I have never read a book about someone deaf before. And now I am very much wanting to. This one seems so cute and good :)


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