Review: Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace
Frankie is in big trouble — he failed his math quiz! But his teacher gives him the whole weekend to study and then he can take a make-up quiz. The only problem is that his family — who promised to help him study — keep interrupting him to ask him to help them cook or buy groceries or play a game. None of these things will help him study for his quiz…will they?
Frankie Pickle and the Mathematical Menace
Written and Illustrated by Eric Wight
Ages 7-10; Grades 2-4
Simon & Schuster, July 2011, ISBN 978-1-4169-8972-1
90 pages, $9.99
Wight’s Frankie Pickle series is probably the best example of a graphic novel hybrid. Wight seamlessly shifts between text chapters and chapters told in comic art, generally using the comic pages to illustrate Frankie’s vivid imagination. In his third book in the series, Wight takes a simple idea — that math is important to real life — and helps both Frankie and his readers understand the point without ever making the book seem like an after-school special. The fun of the series lies in Frankie’s imaginative leaps, which carry him to the land of Arithmecca, to a game show, and to a football field for the big game. As Frankie has fun, he learns something, but Wight’s deft and delicate touch keeps the story fun without a hint of preachiness or an educational taint.
Frankie and his friends and family are drawn in a thick-lined, black-and-white style which is cartoonish and kid friendly, but also hip enough to keep from feeling babyish. Readers who love stories featuring imaginative heroes dealing with real-life issues (such as graphic novels Babymouse and Kit Feeny and the graphic novel hybrid Dragonbreath) will definitely enjoy Frankie Pickle’s tales. The series doesn’t have to be read in order, but once a young reader picks one of them up, he or she will soon ask for the others.
This review is based on a complimentary copy supplied by the publisher. All images copyright © Simon & Schuster.
About Snow Wildsmith
Snow Wildsmith is a writer and former teen librarian. She has served on several committees for the American Library Association/Young Adult Library Services Association, including the 2010 Michael L. Printz Award Committee. She reviews graphic novels for Booklist, ICv2's Guide, No Flying No Tights, and Good Comics for Kids and also writes booktalks and creates recommended reading lists for Ebsco's NoveList database. Currently she is working on her first books, a nonfiction series for teens.
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