Frank and Bean by Jamie Michalak, illustrated by Bob Kolar, 42 pages. EARLY READER. Candlewick, 2019. $16.
BUYING ADVISORY: EL (K-3) – ADVISABLE
AUDIENCE APPEAL: AVERAGE
Frank goes camping and likes everything quiet so he can write. Bean goes camping too, parking right next to Frank, and likes things loud. He talks loudly and plays instruments loudly. He is also curious, friendly, a bit hard-of-hearing, and in search of words for his tunes. After miscommunications, sharing jelly donuts, and trying to get to sleep, Frank shares some of his words from his secret notebook with Bean, resulting in a musical partnership.
I don’t know if making Frank a hotdog and Bean a baked bean in the illustrations add anything to the story. I don't think kids these days necessarily know what frank and beans are, but the message is solid. Even though these characters are opposites in many ways, they become better when they work together. Additionally, Bean’s hard-of-hearing leads to some funny misunderstandings that young readers will delight in “getting.”
P.K. Foster, MLS, elementary school teacher-librarian