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.
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)