Reviews for Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet

by Megan Frazer Blakemore

Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

When her teacher announces that the class will be getting a pet, rodent lover Frankie Sparks knows exactly what it should beshe just needs to convince everyone else.Frankie's aunt is a rodentologist, so Frankie has a prime resource to help her determine which rodent would make a good class petbecause of course they will get a rodentright? Frankie, who is more adept at math and inventing than at reading and writing, is nevertheless so excited that she does her research right away and is ready to present her arguments for getting a rat before anyone else. But her teacher insists that she respect the process. Frankie is disappointed, but things get worse when her best friend, Maya, tells her that she really doesn't want a rodentin fact, she's scared of them. When Maya hits a stumbling block in her research, Frankie seizes the opportunity to pressure her into voting for a rat. With some advice from her mom, Frankie finally gets a grip and realizes that her friendship, complete with differences, is more important than a rat. As a chapter-book protagonist, Frankie is pleasingly well-developed, with a full range of emotions, strengths, and weaknesses. Frankie and her family are depicted as black, and other classmates are realistically diverse, conveyed in both text and Sarell's black-and-white illustrations. Endnotes explain "problem scoping" and encourage readers to invent.A pleasantly complex early school story. (Fiction. 6-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal
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Gr 1-4-Frankie is a relatable and true-to-life third grader who is so enthusiastic about her school project she can barely contain herself. The class is getting a pet and they need to decide together what kind of animal is best. Frankie is sure that a rodent, specifically a rat, is the best choice. But Frankie will need to convince her teacher, the whole class, and, most importantly, her best friend Maya who thinks a betta fish would be better. Blakemore, in the tradition of Beverly Cleary, writes convincingly from the child's point of view. In this series debut, Frankie faces two problems. The first is the common social development conundrum of how to respond when your friend disagrees with you. The second is a practical problem for Frankie to solve: how can the class keep a rat as a pet when no one will be there to feed it over the weekends? Frankie's parents help her understand that it is okay for friends to have different opinions. Frankie uses scientific methodology to invent an effective solution to the rat-feeding problem. Sarell's simple illustrations, which depict Frankie as an African American girl, accentuate the book's realistic tone. VERDICT Perfect as a tie-in to STEAM curricula and for readers who enjoy Betty Birney's "Humphrey" series and Cleary's "Ramona." Highly recommended.-Tara Kehoe, Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, NC Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.