Frank and Ernest
(Laughing Elephant, Sept. 17, 2010)
First published in 1988 and now back by popular demand, Good Dog, Carl illustrator Alexandra Day’s Frank and Ernest is the entertaining tale of a bear and an elephant who learn to run a diner. The charming illustrations of the Deco-era diner and the novelty of its animal employees will appeal to children, but the diner slang that Frank and Ernest learn and use will delight parents and children alike. Frank and Ernest will reveal the meaning of “burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it,” “a stack with Vermont and a blonde with sand,” as well as “guess water,” “balloon juice,” and “million on a platter.” As in her popular Carl books Day excels at visual jokes and loving detail, but in Frank and Ernest the text is as delightful as the pictures. In skillfully executed paintings Day depicts a diner that is sure to evoke nostalgia among old-timers. Children should enjoy adding these novelties to their vocabularies, and making the connections that inspired the descriptions is good fun. Kirkus Reviews Clever and original, this playful romp serves up its message with a smile. It’s bound to become standard fare…. School Library Journal Frank, appearing as Elephant, and Ernest, as Bear, answer an ad for someone to run human-shaped Mrs Miller's diner for her. Bibliophiles that they are, the friends research the lingo of the diner restaurant trade, and with grace and aplomb they serve a "bow-wow. . . red" (hot dog with ketchup), "nervous pudding," (Jell-O"), and "white cow" (vanilla milk shake"). Alexandra Day's paintings render a mannerly world of measured language and punctilious decorum. Mrs. Miller returns safely from her trip, and we are enveloped in nostalgia--it was all so recent, so very long ago. Peter F. Neumeyer. - Professor Emeritus University of California, Berkeley. Author and recipient of the Ann Devereaux Jordan Award by The Children's Literature Association.