Blurring the lines between graphic novel and chapter book, Wight's (My Dead Girlfriend) children's book debut introduces a protagonist as singular as his name. Frankie Pickle (short for Franklin Piccolini) fuels his everyday life with fantasy. When sent to clean his room, he imagines himself a convict: "Been here so long I forget what the sun looks like,'' he says, scrawling a sixth hatch mark on the prison wall underneath "minutes here." When Frankie's mother declares that he doesn't have to clean his room anymore, at first "Frankie was living on cloud swine." But when even his dog won't go in his room and his sister declares he has the "natural aroma" of "ripe garbage," Frankie-as an intrepid adventurer-makes his room "so clean it made soap look dirty." Wight's b&w comic illustrations brim with action and wit--a moldy sandwich turns into an eight-eyed monster and Frankie makes joyful snow angels in clutter--but Frankie's tone-funny without being smart alecky-is Wight's finest achievement. Full of rib-tickling irony, this is a strong start for the series. Ages 7-10. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Children's Literature - Beverley Fahey
There is a new superhero in town and his name is Frankie Pickle aka Franklin Lorenzo Piccolini. He is a great kid with a supersized imagination that often diverts him from his appointed tasks. After telling him to clean his room one time too many, his exasperated Mom says she does not care if he cleans it or not just as long as he can "deal with the consequences." Free to indulge his wildest adventures as superhero, Frankie's room becomes cluttered with clothes strewn on the floor, papers piled up, leftover food growing green and furry, bedclothes are rank and nobody dare be down wind of the unbathed Frankie. In a nightmare adventure Frankie imagines himself sinking into a bottomless pit of messiness and wakes up just before being sucked into a whirlpool of grime. Humbled and chagrined he embarks on a mission to clean and organize his room. His reward� a shiny green satin cape left by the Dryer Sheet Fairy aka Mom. Part graphic novel and part chapter book this is a strong debut for a new series that will have special appeal to boys. Frankie is kooky but endearing, his family patient and loving, and his adventures out of this world. All of the alter ego adventures are related in comic-book-style panels while Frankie's day-to-day humdrum life is captured in large print double spaced with plenty of margins. Kids ready to move beyond the potty humor of Captain Underpants or kids who like the Ricky Ricotta and the Melvin Beederman Superhero series will find this a perfect choice. Can't wait for the next installment. Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4–Franklin Lorenzo Piccolini is a fourth grader with a big imagination and an alter ego named Frankie Pickle, an amalgam of pop-culture icons from Indiana Jones to Batman. His messy room spawns an adventure that ends when the filth is too much even for him. Wight matches a silly story to black-and-white cartoon graphics in a chapter-book format. Readers who have graduated from Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” and “Ricky Ricotta” series (both Scholastic) will be charmed by this longer story.–Lisa Egly Lehmuller, St. Patrick’s Catholic School, Charlotte, NC
Back off, Batman! Take note, Superman! Frankie Pickle is here, and he's ready to play. What he's not ready for is cleaning his room. When Frankie's mother decides to lay off the nagging, Frankie is allowed to make his own choice about his room as long as he can "deal with the consequences." For a little while, he deals well. But, as time passes with no visits from the Dryer Sheet Fairy, Frankie's room begins to resemble a dump in both odor and clutter. Wight's hilarious twists of language are matched with a wicked sense of fun in the illustrations and frequent sequential-paneled episodes of pretend play. Like the Holms' Babymouse, Frankie lapses into comic-book-style flights of fancy that make references to Indiana Jones, Dick Tracy, the Transformers and many superheroes. Busy illustrations on every page provide appeal for new readers, especially those who love Captain Underpants, Skippyjon Jones and Ricky Ricotta. The diagram of Frankie's newly organized room might provide inspiration for kids with their own Room of Doom-when they've stopped snickering, that is. (Fiction. 7-10)