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Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Frank Show, written and illustrated by David Mackintosh. HarperCollins, 2012. $9.99 ages 6 and up

"My teacher has asked us to talk about one member of our family for show and tell on Friday. We can choose one person and talk for one minute, about the things they like and what kind of person they are. I ask Mum if I can talk about her but she says that she is busy and that I should speak to my father when he gets off the phone."

Only one trip to Bolen's Books when I was in Victoria last month visiting with Erin and Drew. Too often I have made more than one to 'just look' and ended up almost needing another suitcase, or paying for an overweight one, to get the stash back home. So, I was feeling proud of myself when Erin and I met up with Freda and Maddy, two wonderful women (mom and daughter) who work in the children's section and who have impeccable taste in books. I bought The Frank Show because it had a Freda's Pick sticker. I will admit I had heard about it; but, knowing that Freda loved it meant I bought it without even reading it! Maddy was quick to hand over her favorites as well. Still, I could put everything I got in my carry-on bag. Huzzah!

What a treasure this book is...and what fun to read over and over again!

Poor boy whose only available family member is Frank...and he's his granddad. What can he say about Frank that will take a full minute? Everyone else in his class has a worthwhile subject:

"Kristian's dad is a comedian on TV who makes everyone laugh. Paolo's mum is Italian and knows all about Italian and can speak Italian. Fay's cousin tells you if your bag's too heavy at the airport. Donny's dad works in a crisp factory. Saul's aunt swam the English Channel. Hugo's stepbrother has a sports car, with an eightball gear knob."

How can he possibly come up with anything that matches what the others have to say? What a wonderful premise for this story and David Mackintosh works wonders with a curmudgeonly old man, giving him character and chutzpah. Frank is a man I would love to know...and I am sure he would often annoy me, too. But, he has an inimitable take on the life he leads and the world he lives in:

"He doesn't like noise,
or today's music, or
gadgets and gizmos (or
new things), or haircuts,
or weather, or doctors, or
any sort of ice cream that
isn't vanilla. And today I
have to talk about him
for a full minute."

Too funny! I haven't even mentioned the extraordinary accompanying artwork. David Mackintosh uses action-filled, riotous collage to extend his story and entertain his readers. I kept going back again and again to take note of everything he did to make the story such a stand-out. The final double page spread had me giggling and fervently wishing to read it aloud to anyone. (I resisted the urge to phone both Erin and need to see the illustrations to get the full impact).

Bravo, Mr. Mackintosh! You are spot-on with the narrator's voice in every way. And who won't fall in love with Frank?

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