Voyage of the Frog

Common Sense Media says

Harrowing adventure good for reluctant readers.





What parents need to know

Positive messages

A harrowing, gripping and engrossing adventure story that shows the strength of the human will to survive. 

Positive role models

David is brave, strong and unwilling to give up. 


David is seriously injured and alone at sea on a damaged boat.

Not applicable

Two mild religious expletives.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is a compellingly written, can't-put-it-down story keeps even reluctant readers engrossed.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

A gripping survival tale begins when David's favorite uncle dies after asking David to scatter his ashes at sea. David sails his uncle's small boat without checking weather reports, and a sudden storm creates disaster. Low on food, becalmed, attacked by a shark, and escorted by killer whales, David hangs on against the odds. A harrowing, uplifting adventure short enough for reluctant readers.

Is it any good?


Most young readers enjoy fast-moving adventure stories, and reluctant readers need such fare to help them experience the excitement that can be found in books. Gary Paulsen satisfies these needs, and does it with first-rate writing and interesting information as well.

The author respects his teenage character enough to portray the boy's fear, but also enough to show him conquering his fear with intelligence and courage. Coping with an apparent attack by a shark, a near collision with a huge oil tanker, and an escort of killer whales, David learns to use his limited knowledge of the sea to survive. In doing so, he begins to understand his uncle's desire to spend his life studying, to learn everything he possibly can learn in his lifetime, offering an excellent example to young readers without lecturing them. By the time David has won his battle to save his little boat and survive, he has reached a new maturity that allows him to turn down the offer of rescue.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how David matures during his adventure. 

  • How much does he appreciate what his uncle is trying to teach him before his journey?

Book details

Author:Gary Paulsen
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:January 1, 1989
Number of pages:141
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12

This review of Voyage of the Frog was written by

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About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Adult Written byLori K. January 7, 2010

Perfect for tweens.

We read this aloud to our three boys when my oldest was 11 ish, then we found The Hatchet, they loved it as well.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 9 years old April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

A must read book!

This book is cool! But it has swear words in it. but it's okay I say swear words even.
Kid, 11 years old September 17, 2012

Boring book for preteen girls!

Well being a girl aged 11, we have to read this for our language arts class in middle school. I find it boring and since I am a girl I can't relate to David character in the book at all. Boring!!
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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