The Fantastic Frame chapter-book series introduces early-elementary-age readers to great works of art.
Fantastic Frame #1: Danger! Tiger Crossing by Lin Oliver, illustrated by Samantha Kallis. Grosset & Dunlap, 2016, 122 pages
Reading Level: Middle Grades, 8-10
Recommended for: ages 6-10
Tyler and his family have moved to a new neighborhood and right off the bat, little sister Maggie reports an orange pig in the neighbor’s backyard—a pig who talks. Tyler’s skeptical search for this phenomenon leads him first to Luna, his talkative neighbor, and next to the boarded-up house next door. Where, yes, an orange pig is serving as butler. The owner of the house is a crotchety old woman who paints reproductions of famous works of art. There’s a reason for her bitterness and reclusiveness—grief for her son David, who disappeared through a picture frame fifty years ago.
How and why? Tyler and Luna will soon find out, in this twist on the “alternate world” fantasy that will take the characters through various works of art. This book is not especially artistic, with its workmanlike plot and illustrations (shifting from black & white to full color when the kids enter the painting), but the series should keep beginning readers entertained as well as introduce them to a few great paintings. FF#2: Splat! Another Messy Sunday is available now; #3 will appear in October.
Overall Value: 3.25 (out of 5)