Review of Frank and the Bad Surprise

Frank and the Bad Surprise Frank and the Bad Surprise [Frank and the Puppy]
by Martha Brockenbrough; illus. by Jon Lau
Primary    Levine Querido    64 pp.    g
4/22    978-1-64614-088-6    $14.99

“This was not fair. But it was the way of the world. Just when you think you’ve got it good, someone brings home a puppy.” Narrator Frank, the highly contented and stuck-in-his-ways cat who narrates this brief early chapter book, lives the “good life” with his two loving male humans. Then their family of three expands: a cute, Corgi-like puppy appears and, to Frank’s great annoyance, makes herself right at home—even going so far as to ruin naptime. After landing in “jail” (his crate) due to an angry claw-swipe, the indignant feline attempts to use his words. He types out and mails a note to the humans, but before they even read it, they release him with the admonition: “You must be nice to the puppy.” In response, Frank composes another note—of farewell—and sneaks out the door in search of a place where he’ll be appreciated. The book features seven short chapters with easy-to-read sentences that convey highly relatable, often over-the-top feelings. The accessible text is well supported by Lau’s personality-filled illustrations, a mix of full pages and spot art. With the narrative being completely from Frank’s wounded perspective, the illustrations display the actions and reactions of every character: the protagonist’s emotional highs and lows, the puppy’s extreme enthusiasm, the humans’ unconditional love (not to mention their chic home décor).

From the May/June 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is acting editor in chief / executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons University and a BA from Oberlin College.

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