________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 33 . . . . April 29, 2016


Frank and Laverne.

David Whamond & Jennifer Stokes. Illustrated by Dave Whamond.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2016.
40 pp., hardcover, $18.95.
ISBN 978-1-77147-145-9.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Meredith Cleversey.

*** /4



Monday 05:00 hours

Squirrel Patrol extra early this morning.

I like to be up with the humans as they ready to go out. They brush their teeth, comb their hair, and get dressed.

My job: to be underfoot.

My favorite human is Sam. His sister Molly is okay, too. Sam is the oldest, and Molly is the youngest.

We're part of a pack.

I take Sam for a walk every day. He likes to throw balls. When I bring the ball back to him, he throws it again.

Sometimes this can go on all afternoon.

Frank is a dog. Every day he diligently goes on squirrel patrol, sits at the window barking to ward off intruders as part of his neighbourhood watch, and plays with his very best friend, Laverne. Laverne is a cat. She does not like Frank's early morning squirrel patrols or his incessant barking at the window, and he's so clueless he doesn't even realize the only thing she wants from him is his squeaky fish toy. Over the course of a week, these two experience a series of events in vastly different ways in this double-storied book.

      Frank and Laverne has an interesting concept in that Frank and Laverne each have their own story that is told by opening the book by its front or its back cover. In each story, a series of similar events unfolds over a week, with each side of the book relating the events from a different perspective. Frank is a happy dog with a militaristic dedication to keeping his family safe; Laverne is more preoccupied with indulging in the finer things in life (like naps and stretches). The two characters are quite different, but ultimately their stories come together when another neighbourhood dog enters their yard. Frank thinks the dog is trying to attack him. Laverne, on the other hand, thinks the dog is just trying to play with Frank, but one dog is bothersome enough—she can't possibly stand having two around. In the end, Laverne scares off the other dog, causing Frank to believe Laverne has saved his life. As a reward, he shares with her his squeaky toy, the very thing Laverne has always wanted.

      While the format of the two-storied book is clever, Frank and Laverne lacks any real depth. While Frank loves Laverne from the beginning, Laverne dislikes Frank right until he offers her his squeaky toy. The characters don't learn anything in the tale, and both are fairly stereotypical representations of their animal, with Frank being an energetic and dim-witted dog, and Laverne being a haughty and self-centered cat. If Frank had been in real danger, and Laverne had come to the realization she did care for him despite his annoying tendencies, the characters and their relationship would have had more warmth and heart. As it is, Laverne's half of the story is somewhat lacklustre, and even Frank's version of events fails to offer much beyond simple cuteness.

      Still, readers will find the different interpretations of each event amusing, and the double-story format of the book will prove a lot of fun. Dave Whamond's illustrations are full of colour and expression which add to the story's energetic pace, and the journal entry format of the text and pictures creates a unique reading experience. All in all, Frank and Laverne offers two fun tales joined together through an innovative storytelling style.


Meredith Cleversey, a librarian in Cambridge, ON, loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

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