The obsessive-compulsive hero of Donuthead, now in sixth grade, finds that the social and microbial challenges of middle school are nearly enough to do him in. Sarah, Franklin's unlikely best friend from book one, also faces tests: hers may be scarier, but she talks about them less. The author spends a bit too much time reviewing old material, and the story doesn't ignite until halfway through, when Sarah, who has learned how to figure skate faster than you can say "flying camel," soars in her first exhibition. The scatological humor may well appeal to the elementary school crowd, but the overarching message here is about maturity: Stauffacher charts that big leap from boy to man as Franklin blushes at his young teacher's bare shoulder, and sizes up his unrequited love for the perfect Glynnis Powell. As Gloria (his contact from the National Safety Department, first met in Donutheart) points out, "It's called `growing up,' Franklin. You are beginning to notice that other people have needs wholly unconnected to your health.... It's a good sign.'' Franklin shows he understands when he does something to help Sarah that violently clashes with his ironclad policy of risk-avoidance. Those who loved the first book will want to read this one, and since many issues (Sarah's messy home life, Franklin's mystery sperm-donor dad) remain unresolved, they'll hope for a third to tie things up. Ages 8-12. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The main characters in Sue Stauffacher's book about middle school are two students, Franklin Delano Donuthead and Sarah Kervick. Others rounding out the book include Franklin's mother and her boyfriend. Franklin's mother is helpful to Sarah, a talented disadvantaged girl who lives in a trailer with her unsavory father. Franklin ‘s mother takes an after-hours job cleaning toilets at an ice skating rink to pay for Sarah's skating lessons. Throughout the book, Franklin does not have the nerve to go to the restroom at school, knowing one boy in particular is waiting to do him harm. His friend Sarah helps him overcome his fear. He helps her keep her grades up so she can participate in the skating contest. Franklin is overly germ conscious, and his mother humors his obsession. He has no natural father, as his mother was artificially inseminated. Sarah's friends are worried when she leaves school without telling anyone. Her father is suspected of making her leave. Franklin acts bravely when he goes to the questionable area where Sarah has moved. He plans to bring her back so she can continue competing in skating. She returns with Franklin and an adult friend in time to participate in the skating competition. Guess who wins to make Sarah's friends the happiest ever?
Children's Literature - Jennie DeGenaro
In this sequel to Donuthead (Knopf, 2003), Franklin Delano Donuthead is now in Pelican View Middle School. He is as odd as his name, perpetually examining the risks of touching bathroom fixtures, petting dogs, or doing anything potentially hazardous. As in the original story, he is a friend to the brash and impulsive Sarah, who helps him overcome school bullies and a shy bladder, among other things. The gist of this story revolves around Sarah, who has a knack for ice skating but is struggling with her unemployed, alcoholic father in a neglectful home. It is now Franklin's turn to lend a hand as he must undertake a perilous trip on public transportation into a rough neighborhood to help Sarah. He must also deal with his mother's new boyfriend, the school bully, a flour sack baby, a saliva-spewing science teacher, a potential girlfriend, and more than one dog. Through it all, Franklin continues to seek advice and assistance from Gloria, who operates a hotline at the National Department of Safety. The book has the offbeat charm of the Wayside School series with its many screwball characters, but the author still broaches some dark topics and real-life situations as well. Franklin seems a bit too adult at times and often is too prissy to be likeable, but the reader must admire his resourcefulness and will no doubt be rooting for him during the difficult situations. Readers of the first novel will want to follow his further adventures here.
Gr 5–8 -Franklin Delano Donuthead, the eponymous hero of
Donuthead (Knopf, 2003), is back, as are all of the other characters from the first book. Now in middle school, Franklin is still obsessed with hygiene, cleanliness, and safety, and Sarah is still living a hard-knock life. The plot this time centers around whether Sarah will wear pants or the customary skirt for her figure-skating performance, and whether Franklin will find the courage and self-reliance to rescue her from her aunt. Readers who aren't familiar with the first book will be totally lost. Stick with Gordon Korman's No More Dead Dogs (Hyperion, 2000), a more amusing choice about a male protagonist. Nancy BrownCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
If Franklin Delano Donuthead thought fifth grade was hard, he's just about defeated by middle school. For one thing, he has to use a public bathroom, a situation that's almost crippling to his shy bladder. With the help of his indomitable classmate, Sarah Kervick, and Gloria Nelots, his telephone contact at the National Safety Department, he struggles to navigate the complicated social and hormonal waters of Pelican View Middle School, it's tough. Franklin's fastidious voice is hilarious as he yearns for the nearly perfect Glynnis Powell, grapples with raising a flour baby (named "Keds") for health class and continues his quest to avoid germs of all kinds. The laughs are balanced by genuine pathos, in the form of Sarah's marginal life with her brutish father and of Donuthead's own desire for the kind of affection and attention his mother gives to Sarah. When the chips are down, though, Donuthead-much to his own surprise-essays a rescue that tests all of his limits and assumptions. Funny and marvelously humane, it's a worthy follow-up to his debut, Donuthead (2003). (Fiction. 8-12)
“Funny and marvelously humane, it’s a worthy follow-up to [Franklin’s] debut, Donuthead.”–Kirkus Reviews
“[Franklin is] a character readers will like, and his trials are a wry, touching commentary on middle-school survival.”–Booklist
“An invitingly quirky story.”–The Bulletin