cover image Being Frank

Being Frank

Donna W. Earnhardt, illus. by Andrea Castellani. Flashlight (IPG, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-9362611-9-2

Whether children understand the titular pun on the word “frank,” they’ll understand the difference between the kind of frankness Frank starts out with (“Your singing is kind of shrieky,” he tells a classmate) and the kind he ends up with (“You sure can hit those high notes,” he says to the same classmate after a heart-to-heart with his tactful Grandpa Ernest). Newcomer Earnhardt makes her point with solid pacing and lots of laughs: “She knew how fast she was going,” Frank tells a police officer who’s pulled over his mother. “I told her.” Grandpa Ernest’s demonstration of diplomacy is low-key. “Well,” he says when a neighbor asks him about her gaudy hat, “there are an awful lot of flowers up there. But my favorite is the purple one in the middle.” Italian illustrator Castellani’s digital artwork is crisp, colorful, and energetic, though somewhat generic. Since Earnhardt’s story stands sturdily on its own, though, it doesn’t detract from its impact. While Frank might not persuade sharp-tongued children to mend their ways, the story provides a useful array of good ways to deliver bad news. Ages 5–7. (Oct.)