Frank and Lucky Get Schooled by Lynne Rae Perkins was published by Harper Collins Children’s Books in 2016. This crazy dust jacket is a hint as to what is inside.
This is one of the most fascinating picture books I’ve read. On one level it’s about a boy (Frank) and his dog (Lucky) and their relationship. But each page holds more, much more, than a plot point or character revelation.
Frank and Lucky Get Schooled shows Frank and Lucky going about their lives together and separately always learning and growing. Learning. A lifetime of learning. That is what Frank and Lucky Get Schooled is about on a second, maybe deeper level.
Or is their relationship the deeper level? Hmmm. Have to cogitate on that one.
Perkins is both author and illustrator. (Oh, I’ve wished a 1000 times I had studied art and children’s literature.) So, the page layouts of this book are varied—very varied.
- Some pages have one full-page illustration with superimposed type.
- Some pages have one or two vignettes with a line of type.
- Some pages have speech balloons.
- Some pages have several sequential boxes that show the story.
- Some pages have a map.
- Some have pull-outs.
- There are even a couple of double-spread.
Very interesting. I’ve read it three times and I’m going back for more.
But the most intriguing aspect of this book for me is that the text is this synergistic weaving of the narrative about Frank and Lucky, AND piles of nonfiction information about multiple disciplines of the sciences and mathematics and even a little history, art, geography and foreign languages thrown in. Both the narrative and the information seem to be part of a casual conglomeration of scientific information delivered by a precocious ten year-old narrator.
The nonfiction material is woven in effortlessly. Just like a talkative ten year-old answering your casual question about how his day went with a ten-minute sentence rehashing everything from brushing his teeth that morning to losing his socks on the way home from school.
And such a sneaky way to “school” unsuspecting readers.
AND writers who desperately want to become picture book authors. <sigh>
Buy it. Borrow it from a library. Sit on the floor and read it at a bookstore. It’s crazy cool!