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When Frank Was Four


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About the Author

Alison Lester is one of Australia s most popular children s authors and illustrators. She began illustrating children s books after she had her first child, and today has illustrated more than 25 books for children. Alison has won several awards for her writing and illustrating, including the 1989 CBC Honour Book Award for THE JOURNEY HOME, and Best Designed Children s Book for ROSIE SIPS SPIDERS. WHEN FRANK WAS FOUR reached number one in the bestseller list and was also a CBC Notable Book. Alison lives on a farm in rural Victoria with her husband and their three children.


Readers familiar with Lester's Clive Eats Alligators or Tessa Snaps Snakes will recognize the affable characters whose anecdotal childhood experiences are so fondly celebrated here. Accompanied by single sentences, Lester's characteristically streamlined panel pictures spotlight feats performed by each of seven children during each of his or her first seven years. Some of the incidents are classic misadventures ("When Nicky was one she spilled spaghetti on her head"; "But Frank parachuted off the garage roof"); some are milestones ("Tessa took her first steps"; "Clive took off his training wheels"); and some are kid-pleasingly silly ("A kangaroo stole Rosie's french fries"; "Ernie climbed into the fish tank"). A concluding, colorfully crowded spread presents a counting exercise: pictures of the children are found alongside cumulative sequences of "their" objects (for example, Rosie has "1 cowgirl hat, 2 riding boots," etc.). A cheerful book, likely to elicit a new wave of questions from kids who never tire of asking what they did when they were "little." Ages 2-8. (Mar.)

PreS-Gr 1‘This book marks the yearly growth of a set of characters first introduced in Lester's Clive Eats Alligators (Houghton, 1991). It offers no surprises‘ just more of a very good thing. The author follows the seven children through their first seven years, citing distinctive behaviors and accomplishments along the way. "When Clive was three, he danced in his cousin's tutu." At four, "Nicky cut off her braids." At six, "Ernie's lizard had babies." The kids' characteristics are beautifully universal; only the occasional koala or kangaroo suggests the title's Australian origins. The delightful artwork, done in watercolor with pen and ink, reinforces the fresh ideas and bright tone. Layout is playful, with story details appearing as components of borders and designs. On the final two pages, there's a counting chart with numerals representing the youngsters' possessions. A versatile title that is full of possibilities.‘Liza Bliss, Worcester Public Library, MA

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