Thursday, February 11, 2010

Review: Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000

Summary: Frankie Pickle returns for another imaginative adventure and this time it all comes down to race cars. Well, not quite race cars, but the Pine Run Derby for scouts. Frankie is in danger of not advancing to the next ranking with the rest of his troop unless he can win the Pine Run 3000. But Frankie wants to do everything on his own so he imagines himself as a world-class sculptor, a mad scientist, and of course, a pro-racecar driver. In the end, Frankie learns that team work is the only way he won't get left in the dust. -- Simon and Schuster

If you read my review of FRANKIE PICKLE AND THE CLOSET OF DOOM by Eric Wight a few months ago, then you know how much I enjoyed this very cute graphic novel young readers. I am a huge fan of graphic novels for kids, and I love that these books get even the most reluctant readers excited about reading. There is the perfect combination of illustrations and words in these books to keep the interest of youngsters without causing them to get frustrated. Eric Wight makes reading fun!

FRANKIE PICKLE AND THE PINE RUN 3000 is the second installment in the wonderful Frankie Pickle series, and it's absolutely as terrific as the first book! I swear that I'm not just saying that because I adore Eric Wight -- he really is a wonderful author and illustrator! Last November, I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel at the Lititz Kidlit Festival and Eric was one of the participants. I was immediately charmed by his enthusiasm about kids and books, and I swear I could listen to him talk for hours -- he's so much fun!

I fell in love with Frankie's character in the first book because he had such a fantastic imagination, and I still found myself still enjoying him in this novel. Frankie truly is a great (and memorable) character. In FRANKIE PICKLE AND THE PINE RUN 3000, Frankie's imagination once again gets him in trouble when he creates a super-duper knot (instead of a normal one) during his Possum Scout meeting. He ends up not getting enough points to receive his merit badge and move to the next level with all of his friends -- all because he was goofing off. Naturally, he is devastated!

Frankie discovers that he can get some more points (and his merit badge) if he wins the Pine Run 3000 Derby. So he heads out to the hobby store with his dad to buy the materials to create his dream car. Frankie doesn't think he needs any help in making his car until he test drives it against one of his friend's cars at school. When his car not only loses the race but falls apart, he decides that he might need some assistance from his dad if he is going to have a car to race in the derby. So Frankie and his dad work together to design and build a new car for Frankie. Along the way, Frankie learns some important lessons and even sees his father in a new light.

I really enjoyed this story and I especially liked the little twist at the end of the story. You can't help but root for Frankie because he is just so darn lovable! Of course in addition to the story and the characters, I also appreciated Eric Wight's illustrations. As was the case in FRANKIE PICKLE AND THE CLOSET OF DOOM, I loved the sketches of Frankie and his family -- their eyes just crack me up and don't get me started on their facial expressions!

I am so excited to share with you that Eric Wight will be visiting Aaron's Books in Lititz, PA, tomorrow evening (February 12, 2010) to help celebrate the first night of the Lititz Fire and Ice Festival. He will be signing his books as well as talking to kids about illustrating. My daughter was lucky enough to meet him last November, and she couldn't stop raving about how "awesome" he is! This time, my son gets to meet him and get his autograph! Josh Berk, debut author of THE DARK DAYS OF HAMBURGER HALPIN, will also be there! I can't wait!!!

Thanks to the author for providing a review copy of this book.


bermudaonion said...

Vance would have loved this book as a kid! The first year he entered the Pinewood Derby he came in dead last. He actually won the whole thing his last year, though.

Beth F said...

Oh you are so lucky to have met the author. I bet you have a fabulous time at the event tonight.

I too like graphic novels for kids -- it's a nice transition for reluctant readers and a fun break for avid readers.

Kristen said...

My poor oldest's car didn't even complete the track in his first Pinewood Derby. Perils of having a totally tool challenged father. My youngest loves graphic novels so I'll definitely have to look into this series for him.