Fans of Leroy Ninker Saddles Up (2014) will relish this new tale, which successfully expands the core of the Mercy Watson series while offering generous cameos from the original characters, as well as much buttered toast. No one offers early readers better quality prose than DiCamillo, who never allows the constrictions of this format to deter her from excellent writing: “Franny, you are the genuine article. You are solid. You are certain. You are like a refrigerator. You hum.” Series illustrator Van Dusen’s artwork (not seen in final form) is a treat, as always, reflecting the quirkiness of DiCamillo’s unique cast of characters. Francine Poulet will wrangle readers’ hearts along with rascally wildlife in this standout early chapter book.
—Booklist (starred review)
New readers ready for a challenge and some laughs will welcome more characters from Deckawoo Drive.
Like Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, it’s a witty yet tender reminder of the importance of being one’s best self. You do you, Francine.
With plenty of white space and a large font the title is tailor-made for young readers transitioning to chapter books and will be enjoyed by “Mercy Watson” (Candlewick) fans and new readers alike…A worthy addition to the series.
—School Library Journal
DiCamillo’s quick, dryly hilarious dialogue makes this over-the-top story shine, as does the tender subplot about Francine’s father, who still roots for her from the great beyond. Chris Van Dusen’s comical caricatures of Officer Poulet, the ridiculously bejeweled Mrs. Bissinger and that crazy ghost raccoon make the whole book hum.
The wacky plot comes smartly together with humorous insights and lively illustrations. Familiar characters, including Frank and Stella, the Lincoln sisters, and Mrs. Watson, lead the story to its climax on Deckawoo Drive, resulting in the raccoon’s capture, the restoration of Francine’s self-esteem, and lots of toast.
—The Horn Book
DiCamillo’s writing is diverting and warmly descriptive, the story has heart, and Francine is an undeniably likable character. Even in black and white, Van Dusen’s illustrations evince warmth and humor. Fans of the first book in the series, Leroy Ninker Saddles Up (BCCB 9/14), and the Mercy Watson books may find similar enjoyment here.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
School librarians will definitely want to add this new escapade to their collections.
—School Library Connection
Kate DiCamillo delivers an inspiring message replete with suspense and fun…