A Tyranny of Toads, by Jessica Green

My feet don’t reach the floor – they dangle and swing. I got yelled at for being subversive. I said, ‘I’m not subversive, I’m short.’ I got yelled at for backchatting. And he said he’d heard about me from the other teachers.
Great. The first day, and even before recess I’d been made to sit next to my worst enemy, fallen foul of the Teacher From Hell and been followed by my old reputation.

The new school year has not started well for Jillian James. It’s her last year of primary school and she has a new teacher and some new classmates – as well as the old ones – to contend with. Last year it was the princesses – the ‘in’ girls – who made Jillian’s life difficult. This year, she has to sit next to a toad.

Jillian decides it might be best if she steer the Middle Path, as recommended by the teachings of Buddha. Her brother Richard seems to think she looks a lot like Buddha. Maybe she can learn to be like him too. But Jillian is not very good at steering clear of conflict. She is always quick to say what she thinks, and that lands her in plenty of trouble.

A Tyranny of Toads is the funny sequel to A Diary of a Would-be Princess, though it reads fine as a stand-alone offering too. Jillian and her friends are a year older and have different problems to deal with, though there are some similar themes, including issues of belonging and peer groups.

Written using a diary style, the book is peppered by sticky-note memos, written by Jillian’s older bother, Richard, a fun touch.

An enjoyable read for upper primary aged readers.

A Tyranny of Toads, by Jessica Green
Scholastic, 2006