Lunch Walks Among Us

Lunch Walks Among Us

4.8 21
by Jim Benton

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Franny K. Stein is not your average girl—she’s a mad scientist. She prefers poison ivy to daisies, and when Franny jumps rope, she uses her pet snake. The kids in Franny’s class think she’s weird, wacky, and just plain creepy.

Tired of being stared at, Franny decides to attempt her most dangerous experiment yet—she’s going…  See more details below


Franny K. Stein is not your average girl—she’s a mad scientist. She prefers poison ivy to daisies, and when Franny jumps rope, she uses her pet snake. The kids in Franny’s class think she’s weird, wacky, and just plain creepy.

Tired of being stared at, Franny decides to attempt her most dangerous experiment yet—she’s going to fit in. But when a giant Monstrous Fiend attacks the class, everyone knows only a true mad scientist can save the day. But has Franny lost her creepy, crawly ways?

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist series gets off to a silly start with this copiously and cartoonishly illustrated novel, which bears at least a passing visual resemblance to Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants capers. The young heroine is clearly not an average child: she fills her room with bats, snakes and a flying piranha-plus test tubes, beakers and "a whole bunch of crackling electrical gizmos that [she] had made all by herself." Not surprisingly, the other kids at school keep their distance when they see Franny using a snake for a jump rope (never mind that her favorite doll, Chompolina, sports steel teeth that can bite off the heads of other dolls). Franny's sympathetic teacher (whom Benton drolly names "Miss Shelly") suggests Franny conduct an "experiment" to discover how to make friends with her classmates, whereupon the budding mad scientist concocts a potion that transforms her into a sweet-looking girl in a frilly dress and adopts new eating and playing habits to fit in with her peers. But when items the students have thrown into the trash turn out to be the formula for a "Giant Monstrous Fiend," Franny reverts to her mad-scientist ways to create a "Lunch-Meat Creature" that does in the evil monster. Black-and-white drawings (including a section where readers cut pages horizontally to turn them into a create-a-monster game) echo the narrative's hyperbolic humor. Ages 7-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
An anything-but-subtle tale about learning to get along with others, infused with bathroom humor and featuring a pint-sized Morticia Addams as main character. Whether it's her mad-scientist glare, her preference for gourmet lunches, or her love of bats, Franny has trouble making friends, until her teacher suggests that she approach it as another science experiment. After taking systematic notes on peer behavior, Franny boils up an effective sweetness-and-light potion in her home lab-but then has to take the antidote when a Giant Monstrous Fiend rises from the garbage can and climbs the school's flagpole with the teacher under one claw. Franny uses cold cuts from her classmates' sandwiches to create a Frankenstein-ish ally, and thus becomes a hero by Being Herself. Large cartoons take up more space than the text, and Benton adds a mix-'n'-match feature that requires cutting several pages into flaps that can be flipped back and forth. This isn't anything like a blatant grab for Captain Underpants fans, oh no. (Fiction. 7-9)

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Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist , #1
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File size:
20 MB
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Age Range:
7 - 10 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter Five: The Experiment Begins

The next day Franny came to school prepared to start her experiment. Before class she observed some of the girls playing with dolls. Franny was delighted. She knew about dolls.

She loved dolls. In fact she loved them so much that she had even made some special modifications to the ones she had at home.

She was just about to tell the girls how Chompolina could bite the heads off their dolls when she noticed something. Their dolls were all kind of...sweet, and pretty. They all had long hair and flowery dresses. Not a single one of them oozed uck. They didn't ooze anything.

Franny made a note to herself: Pretty, non-head-biting dolls, it said. And less oozing.

At lunchtime Franny sat down at a table with a bunch of kids. She was getting ready to take out her exquisitely delicious crab ravioli in pumpkin sauce when she made another observation.

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on her left, lunch-meat sandwiches on her right. As far as Franny's eyes could see was a carpet of soft, white, squishy sandwiches.

No casseroles, no stews, no shish kebabs; just sandwiches.

"Is this all they ever eat?" she whispered to herself. And she made another note: Squashy sandwiches, it said. Franny stuffed her lunch into the trash.

During recess the kids decided to play softball. "I have the ball," one of them said.

"But we need a bat," another one said.

A bat! Franny thought. Finally. Something I understand! She reached into her backpack to get one.

Just then a little boy ran past her with a baseball bat. "Batter up!" he shouted.

"Hmmm," said Franny. "There's more thanone kind of bat."

As her classmates started playing, she took out her notebook and made another note: A bat can also be a big stick you use to hit things, she wrote.

Copyright © 2003 by James Benton

Meet the Author

Jim Benton is a writer and cartoonist whose unique brand of humor has been seen on toys, television, T-shirts, greeting cards, and even underwear. Franny K. Stein is the first character he's created especially for young children. A husband and father of two, he lives in Michigan, where he works in a studio that really and truly does have creepy stuff in it. Visit him at

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Lunch Walks Among Us 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 8 yr. old daughter loves this series! Franny is not your typical girl- and neither is my daughter. She loved reading about someone who is not "average". She is smart, but doesn't like all the girly stuff like flowers, pink, dolls. She still manages to find a way to have friends while still being herself. A wonderful message for any child to take with them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My favorite character in this book was Franny, because she¿s a mad scientist. I liked the part of the book when Franny makes a meat monster out of her classmates¿ lunches.
Anonymous 15 days ago
Suger yes pleause wont you come wont love its all right need a little somthing its all right
Anonymous 20 days ago
I LOVE this searies! I like how she's special . ~Forever76247~
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My 6 year old daughter read the entire series in a matter of weeks! And my son, who is 4, has me check out the audio books from the library because he loves them too. Usually my daughter would read the books aloud to me, but sometimes she would read a chapter or so on her own. If she did this, I would find myself in her room while she was at school reading the book myself, because I wanted to know what happened! :) Our family definitely gets a kick out of Franny!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"I have a girl. That would be perfect for you! Shes beautiful. And so nice. Her name is Kacy, " plz write me bk!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She is awsome i love her
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This seris is very fun to read. It takes you places. I love this seris . It is so easy to read but exicited to read more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like books. Especially jim bentons. I like pie too. Its not everyday you see a good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter started reading this series when she was 5. Now, at 7, she's read them all several times. Every time we go to the bookstore we check the shelf in the hopes that there is a new one. Though I've looked and looked, I've never been able to find another series that captures her interest as much as this one. Please, Mr. Benton, write some more books about Franny!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter is 9years old. This was her #1 item on her Christmas list this year. SHe has read 3 Franny K Stein books and loves them. She continues to request these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Keeps kids interested while improving reading skills.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book soooooooo much. Go read it in your library today!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is great. Franny is so funny. I love Jim Bentons series. No matter what age you are you'll love this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My favorite character is Franny because she makes cool things . I liked the time my character made a monster out of meat. And she saved the day when the monster took her teacher. All her friends loved her. Franny was the hero of the day.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perfect combo of text and cartoons to keep the pages turning quickly for my 6 year old daughter. Great kid-humor. Daughter is re-reading her favorite parts. We can't wait for #2 in the series.