BookPage Children's Top Pick, June 2016
In her latest picture book, Lynne Rae Perkins celebrates the bond between a dog and his boy, while also celebrating the love of learning.
Frank’s spectacularly bad day gets better when his parents take him to a shelter to get a new dog, and the day also improves significantly for Lucky the dog when Frank and his family show up to give him a new home and a better life. With that, a dynamic duo is born.
Both boy and dog have a lot to learn. “Lucky went to his school ten times,” Perkins writes. “Frank went to his school thousands of times. . . . Lucky did a lot of learning on his own.” It’s after this that Perkins launches into the kind of learning the boy and dog do in their daily lives—learning that is the inherent part of a curious child’s (and pet’s) day. There’s Science (exploring nature), Chemistry (cleaning your dog when he gets ticks while exploring nature), Math (Lucky attempts to maximize the number of biscuits he can get from his humans), Geography (readers see Frank on a map as he looks for Lucky, who gets lost while exploring), Spanish (Frank makes a new bilingual friend while trying to locate Lucky) and much more.
Perkins’ textured illustrations, rendered via pen and ink and watercolors, use small panels on some spreads to break up the action, and this sets the pace for a detailed yet never hurried tale. Perkins takes advantage of every moment to launch her story, with illustrations that begin on the copyright page, before the readers even get to the first spread. The joy is in all these details—and in the seamless way Perkins shows the sheer amount of information boy and dog take in while enjoying each other’s company and exploring their worlds. Never once does the author get in the way of the story.
Informative and entertaining, Frank and Lucky Get Schooled is an A+ picture book in every way.
Julie Danielson features authors and illustrators at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog.
Illustrations © 2016 by Lynne Rae Perkins. Reprinted with permission from HarperCollins Children's Books.