Review of Frank and Lucky Get Schooled

perkins_frank and lucky get schooledstar2 Frank and Lucky Get Schooled
by Lynne Rae Perkins; 
illus. by the author
Primary    Greenwillow    32 pp.
6/16    978-0-06-237345-8    $17.99

Frank is having a terrible, horrible, no good etc. day, but then he gets Lucky — a pooch from the pound who becomes Frank’s faithful companion in the business of learning about the world. The two learn about science (“Science is when you wonder about something, so you observe it and ask questions about it”) and such subcategories as botany, entomology, and chemistry (after the time Lucky “wondered about skunks”). They solve math problems: “Let’s say a dog comes in from outside and gets one biscuit, but there are three people in the living room. How many more biscuits should the dog receive?” And a mysteriously devoured birthday cake provides a lesson in historiography: “Sometimes in History there are different versions of what really happened, depending on who is telling the story.” How Perkins manages to include so many actual, useful facts in the story is an education in itself, especially in the way text and pictures so thoroughly trust the obligation of one to complete the other. A portrait of a dog (Lucky, of course) and a cat? Composition. And the next picture of said dog heading for the hills while the cat sits smugly in the foreground is an excellent demonstration of Perspective. Ideas, motifs, and characters pop in and out in surprising but logical ways, and Perkins varies the page design — full-page paintings, vignettes, text (dryly laconic) distributed between narrative and dialogue/thought balloons — to keep everybody’s thinking caps firmly affixed. The strands of school and life, boy and dog, and curiosity and investigation are firmly, joyfully, braided throughout. Who needs Core Standards?

From the May/June 2016 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton
Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.

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