We all have those times when we’re in a reading slump. Or life is just too stressful to focus on something deep and involving. What we really need for those moments is a campy, over-the-top adventure book. And for these times, I give you Doc Wilde and The Frogs of Doom.
Meet the Wilde family: there’s a god of a dad in Doc: a tall, muscular, blonde, intelligent, rich inventor who happens to love both his family and going on adventures. So he solves the problem by taking his family — two kids, 12-year-old Brian and 10-year-old Wren, on adventures. Alas, his wife is dead (presumably, she was tall, muscular, blonde, intelligent and rich also), but that doesn’t seem to stop Doc or his kids (who are not tall and muscular, but are intelligent and rich). Add into this mix a British majordomo/butler who tends, in a crisis, to quote from literature (which the kids can always guess — although they stump him with Dr. Seuss — obviously they’re home-schooled) and an Irish pilot/heavy, and you’ve pretty much got the idea.
The adventure begins when their super-smart, tall, rich (he lives on the 86th floor of the Empire State Building) Grandpa Wilde goes missing. Of course the Wilde family has to go rescue him, and following his trail end up in the Amazon jungle of Hidalgo. Flying their gyrocopter into the jungle, they are attacked by mutant frogs that make the copter crash (but wait — thanks to the super-intelligent design of Doc’s, it doesn’t actually crash), and the Wilde family is forced to hike through the forest. During their journey they’re attacked by more mutant frogs, but manage to fend them off, without killing them, of course, because they respect all life forms no matter how mutant, and are repelled by killing. Unfortunately, one mutant frog eventually possesses the body of one of them. Of course, Indiana Jones-style, they manage to make their way into the lair, and rid the world of mutant frogs forever.
It’s smart, enjoyable, campy fun, perfect for a hot summer day (or a kid whose tastes tend toward the mutant…).