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Jennifer Murdley's Toad (Magic Shop #3)

3.83  ·  Rating Details ·  1,848 Ratings  ·  101 Reviews
Jennifer Murdley had no idea what she was getting into the day she bought the big toad from the strange man who ran Elives' Magic Shop. The thing didn't even start talking to her until she had it out of the shop. And once the toad did start to talk, it still kept a lot of secrets. So Jennifer didn't find out about his strange birth... or the treasure hidden in his ...more
Paperback, 159 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Aladdin Paperbacks (first published January 1st 1992)
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Apr 22, 2015 Myles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher might be the crowd favorite, but Jennifer Murdley's Toad is truly deserving, a perfect modern fairy tale.

Jennifer, a girl in a "plain brown wrapper", is insecure about herself because of her looks and is often teased at school. Like in his better books, Coville takes time to develop Jennifer before magic happens to her. She's a thoughtful, kind girl and is mortified when, at the beginning of the book, must go to school wearing her brother's underwear. She confides
Jun 25, 2008 Qt rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humor, fantasy
I liked this Magic Shop Book as much as I liked "Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher." The characters and plot are completely different (save for one or two minor recurring characters), but the humor and heart is the same. ("Jeremy" is perhaps a bit more "magical," in my opinion, while "Jennifer" has more of a modern fairy-tale feel.)
The backstory of the title toad is quite interesting, especially to fans of fairy tales, and the theme of self-image and outside appearances is also touching and well
Aug 08, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
This is a great series for my students! I read aloud The Monster's Ring to them and they loved it so much that I decided to also read aloud this one. Without even prompting them, they are busy comparing and contrasting Jennifer Murdley's Toad to A Monster's Ring. Once we are finished, I think I'm going to have them create their own version of a Magic Shop Book. I'm hoping that a number of them will read more Magic Shop books over the summer independently or with their parents.
Jan 21, 2008 Jennie rated it it was amazing
A poignant read, especially for today’s girls who are bombarded by the media with impossible standards of beauty. Although Jennifer is sincere, intelligent and loyal she suffers from a poor self image. Children will enjoy the fantasy elements of the story as a “magic shop” book and hopefully take the message to heart.
I was an assistant on this book. It is one of Bruce's best novels, a book as funny as it is harrowing and heartbreaking. For some, Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher is their favorite Magic Shop Book, but for me it is tied between Jennifer Murdley's Toad and The Skull of Truth, serious books that are seriously hilarious.
Apr 06, 2010 Zinger rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2010
This is an ok book for a beginning reader who is stuck somewhere without anything else to read. But if you have something else to read or do, I would recommend doing that.
Nov 22, 2016 Pashi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: series
Another excellent Magic Shop book. I have officially read the entire series now but only have dim memories of 2 of them so I might have to do some rereading. This book series is so delightfully exemplary of everything to like about children's books while at the same time there is something very mature about them; within the cover of a children's fantasy story lies fodder for thought for adults and children alike. I especially liked this book because it differed from the formula of "kid finds ...more
Kylie Griffin
This is a fantastic series for middle-grade readers (8yo+) to read independently or for younger children to read aloud.
Kim Zarins
Jul 10, 2013 Kim Zarins rated it it was amazing
I love the whole Magic Shop series--they are perfect for the child who is not ready to read or listen to a long novel, and the humor and lightness is spot on and a good introduction to the fantasy genre (this is not fantasy that takes itself too seriously--no Frodo or Harry Potter showdown against lords of darkness). And because of that lack of stakes to save the world against fiends, the age-appropriate struggles of the kids take center stage. In JEREMY, a boy struggles with being small and ...more
Mar 11, 2015 Ashley rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy

Like all the other Magic Shop books, Jennifer Murdley's Toad starts off the same way. Jennifer is running away from some very cruel girls and ends up walking onto the street where the magic shop is located. She ends up buying a toad and when I found out what this story was really about I thought I wasn't going to like it. A toad? Seriously?

Once I got into the story I was surprised that I was really enjoying it! It was much more interesting than I ever thought
Aug 10, 2016 . rated it really liked it
“Jennifer Murdley’s Toad” is from the magic shop series, probably best known for Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher. “Jennifer Murdley’s Toad” is a book that goes through the importance of inner beauty and teaches heavy meaning messages through a light-hearted humorous manner, which makes this book somewhat unique.

Jennifer Murdley is a young girl who was always teased and bullied around for her “unattractive” looks at school. At first, she tries to protect herself from the insults by simply tellin
Apr 18, 2016 Tiakall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anyone who has a daughter needs to give them this book. Despite being released in the early 1990s, this book continues to be a relevant and even essential message among the bombardment of beauty standards women in particular are subjected to. This book (along with the ever-popular Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher) is not only in my top two of the Magic Shop series, but in my top for all of Bruce Coville's books, and really, all of my middle grade collection.

The story itself is a pretty straight t
Jul 14, 2013 Saundra rated it liked it
Coville’s voice is authentic and funny. His tone is direct, and his writing style is accessible to young readers. There were many large words that surprised me, and made me happy to see in young adult literature, including “osculatory,” “bufine,” and “vermin.” Even with some large words mixed in (which I felt provoked thought and imagination) the tone of the book was direct and easy to understand. The dialogue was written in a modern style that you could hear at any school. The setting was a ...more
Jul 19, 2007 Malbadeen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people that have stupidly not gotten around to Coville yet.
This book starts with a great first line (and I'm not just saying that because I've had to wear my brothers underwear before) and every chapter is a great anticipatory set for the next - the stuff of great Read Alouds. I was surprised by how quickly Coville moved from the amusing first line, to some heavy truths, and back to the grabber chapter ending. My kids and I were fortunate enough to have a librarian in the car with us for 6 + hours and everytime she stopped reading my son demanded that ...more
Abigail Geesey
The plot was original and the toad was awesome! He was quite funny. The teenage girl in me loved the fact that the frog had a love and that he finally got to be with her at the end. It was also nice that they connected the owner of the museum with the whole story and that she was pretty there even before she was introduced. I liked how the characters had some growth especially Sharra and how the author kept the story open to new adventures. The story had just the right amount of magic, not
This book is about a girl named Jennifer, who thinks everyone thinks they are more beautiful than her. It was true, Jennifer wasn't exactly a fashion model.

She purchases a fat, ugly toad from the mysterious Mr. Elvis's Magic Shop...had gets the adventure of a lifetime when the toad starts talking to her, warning her of a deadly Beauty Parlor, a magical gem, and a witch who wants to kill her! Jennifer embarks on a quest to keep the toad safe from the evil witch; but then he craftily gets stolen b
Jul 07, 2012 Elisebeth rated it really liked it
I first read this book when I was 7 years old. At the time, I had a thing for frogs and toads, and read endless books on the subject when I wasn't out in ditches or ponds catching them. My older sister wanted me to enjoy reading, so she gave me this book as a gift.

I hadn't read any of the other books in the series, nor any other fantasy books for that matter, but due to the stand alone nature of the book it didn't effect my reading at all.

From the moment I turned that first page, this book irre
Marika Gillis
Jennifer Murdley is not a pretty girl, but she is smart and likeable. In this children's chapter book, Jennifer stumbles upon a traveling magic shop and leaves with her very own talking toad! This toad winds up getting Jennifer, and her friends, into one uncomfortable pickle after another.

Jennifer Murdley's Toad, with its elements of the supernatural and its whimsical feel, is a terrifically fun book! Coville has a knack for ending chapters with an interest-grabbing hook that makes the reader so
Jul 07, 2011 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Oct. 2009 Review:
I was hoping this would be good for Samma but I think that the cattiness of the girls at the beginning might be more than I want to expose her to. Oddly enough, I don't think I've ever read this Bruce Coville book. I found it in the used books section of Fat Cat Books. Maybe Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher is less catty since it's about a boy. I think Sam would really love most of it, just not the mean girls aspect.

June 2011 Review:
I'm not thrilled with all of the cattiness and
My 10-yr-son gives this one 3 stars. He says, "It wasn't very action-y but Bufo is very funny."
I give it 2.5. At the beginning, a lot of the story was about Jennifer envying her friends' beauty and thinking her beautiful mother was ashamed to have such her plain, overweight daughter, about Jennifer avoiding mirrors because she couldn't stand the sight of herself. It was really sad, especially from a mom's point of view, and I was looking forward to how Coville might resolve it. The story clearly
Jan 23, 2012 Dylan rated it liked it
A formulaic little book. You can tell that Coville is a real pro. The book has a slick, churned-out feel to it: here's the protagonist, here's the problem, here's the rising climax, and whammo-bango, here's the action-packed ending. I don't sense that much passion or care went into the book.

On another note, the talking toad annoyingly speaks in different voices. Worse, he uses the voices of "John Wayne" or "Bogart," among others: references utterly lost on my 7 year old.

The late and half-worke
Mary Garrett
Jun 23, 2016 Mary Garrett rated it it was amazing
Jennifer Murdley's Toad by BRUCE COVILLE
Beauty on the inside or the outside, which is more important? Jennifer, who would love to be beautiful like her mother, avoids mirrors and runs from the mean girls at her school. One such escape ends in her finding Mr. Elive’s magic shop and adopting Bufo the magical toad, and that’s when the trouble starts! Beware the Beauty Parlor of Doom, mirrors everywhere, but can one trust those reflections? I loved the ending, a surprise, not what I expected -- bett
Jun 30, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Battle of the Books
Awesome little book! This is an example of a book with a hook as the opening line, ""If Jennifer Murdley hadn't been forced to wear her brother's underpants to school, the whole thing might never have happened."
I enjoyed the fairy-tale theme - especially the story of how the toad came to be. I also appreciated the author's take on beauty. He did a great job illustrating that it is not the most important thing in the world, and it was a meaningful message for readers young and
Sep 19, 2009 Kristin rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
I enjoyed this book more than its predecessor, "Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher" because it focuses on a value I want to emphasize in my little girls as they grow up...good self-esteem. Jennifer is obsessed with her unattractive physical qualities and struggles to adapt in her world. The magical experience with the toad, Bufo, helps her find other qualities that are more lasting than beauty. If only every little girl to learn this lesson too.
Whittney Mahle
Oct 27, 2007 Whittney Mahle rated it liked it
This was the first Magic Shop Book I read- they have no particular order that I'm aware of. Bruce Coville likes to use bits of classical mythology and folklore to spice up his stories which he does with success in my opinion.

Other Magic Shop Books in order of how much I like them:
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
Jennifer Murdley's Toad
The Skull of Truth
Juliet Dove, Queen of Love
The Monster's Ring- Have not read yet
Nov 23, 2015 Melinda rated it really liked it
Although it has been on my shelf for a long time, I don't remember reading this one before. I enjoyed it well enough. It was definitely a kids book with a major focus on one topic, but overall, it was a good read. It made for an easy book to keep up with what was going on while doing plasma, and constantly being distracted.
Mar 08, 2012 Kami rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: younger-readers
Another one we listened to in the car. It's about learning to love yourself for who you are. I liked that it didn't make everything perfect at the end. So often, the girl gets to be beautiful (or rich or the queen) at the end. But in this book, she just learned that she has to live with not being the prettiest girl on the block. Which is real life.
Dec 20, 2010 Jordan rated it really liked it
Well... it's certainly amusing. I was actually surprised that it wasn't all cheap awful 'kid' stuff; I actually had fun seeing what happened, and it had just enough plot for me to imagine more depth to it than there actually was.

It should be noted, however, that I read it years ago, and just figured out what it was again, so I may have a different opinion were I to reread it.
Oct 06, 2010 Paula rated it liked it
This is a cute story about a girl who goes into a magic shop and buys a frog. As it turns out the frog is a talking frog! With a kiss, it can turn a person into a toad like himself, then that person has to kiss someone else to make the enchantment go away. There is an evil witch who is trying to get Jennifer's toad for her own personal reasons.
Jul 27, 2011 Libby added it
I really liked this book and it was weird in some parts but I enjoyed the toda that Jennifer bought named Bufo. I didn't like all the stuff that she had to put up with him such as when Jennifer's friend got turned into a toad and I can't tell you anymore about the book. You'll just have to read it to find out how the book ends.
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Other Books in the Series

Magic Shop (5 books)
  • The Monster's Ring (Magic Shop, #1)
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  • Juliet Dove, Queen of Love (Magic Shop, #5)

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“The Kid in the Plain Brown Wrapper If Jennifer Murdley hadn’t been forced to wear her brother’s underpants to school, the whole thing might never have happened. But when she walked into the laundry room on the morning of October 13th, she found her father pouring liquid detergent onto a load of clothes that included every pair of underwear she owned. “Dad!” she screamed. “Wait!” She was too late. The tub was filling, her underwear was soggy and soapy, and there was no chance of getting any of it dry before she had to leave for school. “Don’t worry,” said Mr. Murdley, holding up a stack of neatly folded underpants, “you can wear a pair of these!” “You have got to be kidding! Those belong to Skippy!” The conversation that followed wasn’t pretty. The bottom line had been that Jennifer was going to school, and she was going to wear underwear, even if it did belong to her brother.” 0 likes
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