In Frank and Lucky Get Schooled, Newbery medalist Lynne Rae Perkins uses word play and humor to take a familiar boy-and-his-dog story and turn it into a marvelous mediation on the many forms of education and learning that are all around us.
Frank and Lucky Get Schooled begins, "One day when Frank could not win for losing, he got Lucky. And one day when Lucky was lost and found he got Frank. Both of them were just pups. They had a lot to learn." Panel illustrations showing Frank having a tough day and being taken to the shelter and Lucky being rescued from the middle of the road by a policeman and being taken to the shelter. First, Frank and Lucky get to know each other. As they play, Frank thinks to himself, "You like running? I like running, too." As Frank enjoys a piece of pizza on the front porch, Lucky eyes it thinking, "You like food? I like food!" Lucky goes to school ten times while Frank goes to his school thousands of times. Lucky does a lot of learning on his own and even gives Frank more than a few educational opportunities.
I have to be honest, I was not excited when I first flipped through Frank and Lucky Get Schooled. But, as I began to read the story and appreciated Perkins's tongue-in-cheek sense of humor, I fell in love with this book. Of course I believe that there is a book to address, inform and/or educate any life experience, but I also believe that we should never stop learning and improving ourselves and I feel like Perkins beautifully brings this sentiment to the page here. Botany and entomology lessons come from a romp through the forest for Lucky and fur filled with burdock, beggar's-lice and dog ticks. Chemistry lessons, along with a quick primer on experiments, come when Lucky has a run in with a skunk. There are reading lessons, in which Lucky proves to be an excellent listener and math lessons where Perkins tells readers that "Math is puzzles." She has a great way of taking any subject and making it exciting, interesting. Fractions and percentages are studied by observing how much of the bed Frank has over the course of the night and how much Lucky takes up. There is an especially silly math word problem that involves a birthday cake on a table, a chair that is left out. If the chair is left out at 8:30 in the morning, how much cake will be left on the table at 4:00? Perkins writes, "We won't know the answer until someone comes home. And then it will be a History question." A few pages are dedicated to history, then we return to that birthday cake and a laugh-out-loud illustration.
Art lessons are also good for laughs and genuinely good art instruction. Frank is working on a still life, and Perkins notes that is a picture has "a dog AND a cat, people who look at it might feel that something exciting is about to happen. Their eyes will go back and forth between the cat and the dog. Making people's eyes move around to different parts of the picture is called composition." Of course, Perkins includes intriguing illustrations to go with these concepts. Geography lessons become hospitality and Spanish lessons, with a bit of logarithmic spiral and Fibonacci's sequence thrown in with good measure.
Frank and Lucky Get Schooled is an absolutely, unforgettably, delightful picture book that readers will return to again and again.
Source: Review Copy