Frankie Works the Night Shift

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While everyone else is busy dreaming, Frankie is hard at work, cleaning and scheming. There’s no time for rest.

Clang!

Splash!

Eeeeeeeek!

But here’s a little secret–Frankie really seems to enjoy the night shift. Is he working hard or hardly working? Open this book and decide for yourself. Good job, Frankie!

Lisa Westberg Peters, illus. Jennifer Taylor, Greenwillow, 2010.
32 pages, ages 4-8. ISBN: 0060090952

Awards & Recognition:

  • Outstanding Book of 2010 on Bank Street College 2011 Best Children’s Books of the Year list. 

The Story Behind the Story

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After so many years of appearing to be useless, my cat, Frankie, finally inspired a story. He was no longer just a mischief-maker who tipped over garbage cans and ironing boards, he was literary inspiration.

This story, oddly enough, is not dedicated to Frankie, may he rest in peace. It’s dedicated to my brother Andy’s amazing cat, Ralphie. But, really, the book is dedicated to mischievous cats everywhere who have a clear sense of their identities.

Read more through my guest blog on Under the Green Willow.

Reviews

Booklist review, April 15, 2010

The street is dark and quiet, but there’s a light on inside the hardware store. Frankie the cat is hard at work. Although irony may not be preschoolers’ strong suit, they’ll get a laugh out of the way the orange cat empties the wastebasket by knocking it over and waters the geranium by kicking on the water hose in the yard. But there is actual work for a cat to do at night-and that’s chase a mouse, which Frankie does throughout the store and up to the living quarters above. Illustrator Taylor uses digital photography to good effect here in pictures that feature a hyperrealistic cat and mouse (a visual relative of the star of the Stuart Little movie), set against a stylized mix of media that looks like very little else around. A counting game is part of the text, but the real draw here is Frankie, so real you want to give him a pat.

– Ilene Cooper

Kirkus Reviews  January 15,2010

“Frankie works the night shift. / He empties one wastebasket. / He cleans two counters.” Yes, Frankie the yellow tabby cat works and counts his way around the hardware store until he “spots an intruder behind six hammers! / He follows it up / and down / seven ladders. / He chases it in and out of eight nail bins.” The chase lands the both of them on the beds of the nine bosses, who aren’t too keen on being awakened­until one of them spots the intruding mouse. Then Frankie has a cheering section as he chases it from the store. After a good night’s work (and ten big yawns), Frankie settles down to his daytime routine-which looks to include a bit of napping. Peters’s sly counting-cat tale is given a huge boost of silliness and adrenalin by newcomer Taylor’s photo-based digital collages. The puss playing Frankie and his mousey co-star leap and climb across the full-bleed, mostly two-page dynamically composed spreads with gleeful abandon. Enormously entertaining, particularly for the I Spy set. (Picture book. 3-7)