cover image Frank and Bean

Frank and Bean

Jamie Michalak, illus. by Bob Kolar. Candlewick, $15.99 (48p) ISBN 978-0-7636-9

Frank, a hot dog, insists that he just wants to be left alone at his woodsy campsite so he can write his secret thoughts in his secret notebook. “No peeking at my words, owl,” he tells a bird, who clearly has no interest in what Frank is writing. Readers, however, will suspect that Frank is a little lonely: “Good night, Frank,” he says to himself. But everything changes with the arrival of Bean, a raucous legume who’s constantly shouting (“DO I HEAR A COW?”), banging on a drum, or tooting a horn (“TOOT, TOOT!”). Over the course of four short chapters designed for early readers, the two slowly discover that they make a fine pair. Bean introduces Frank to jelly doughnut holes (“Hot diggity dog!” Frank says), and Frank’s secret writings turn out to be poems that Bean can use as lyrics for his “one-bean band”—which quickly becomes a duo. While unlikely friendships abound in children’s books, Kolar’s (Trucker and Train) sleek, animation-style digital art and Michalak’s (the Joe and Sparky series) highly performative dialogue build to a manic hilarity that makes these pals, as Bean might say, “half cool and half amazing.” Ages 5–8. [em](Oct.) [/em]