Well, rats! There's a lot to learn about class pets.


When Ms. Cupid announced that her students could have a class pet, Frankie Sparks was beyond excited AND she had the perfect pet: a rat. Ms. Cupid said the students would vote on the best pet. She knew she could count on her best friend Maya to vote for a rat. Frankie did all her research, but had one problem: how was her rat going to be fed on the weekends? A chance encounter with Ravi gave her an idea on how to solve that problem. 

Now Frankie had a bigger problem. Maya doesn't like rodents, and she didn't want a rat as the class pet. How could her best friend do this to her? They had been friends for a long time. Was a rat going to come between them?

Parent Perspective:
There is a lot to love about this story. Diverse, realistic characters and plot, as well as a well-structured story that sneaks in lots of "teaching." The author does an exceptional job not just sharing facts about animals, but uses both Ms. Cupid and the kids to demonstrate research and the scientific process.

Frankie is relatable and readers will find her to be likable, but also frustrating - just like real life. Her enthusiasm and energy are infectious, making it easy for readers to see themselves. Again, the author does a great job helping readers get to know Frankie, but did not fully resolve Frankie's "bullying" behavior. Yes, the girls made up, but this event and Frankie's apology could have used a little more specificity.

Overall, a nice story that I'd recommend for reading aloud in class or at home. It would also make a nice gift. Although it is built for transitional readers (9 years old) but younger readers can easily follow along in listening mode.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Animal lovers and tinkerers will find lots to love in Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet. Realistic dialogue and events will engage readers in Frankie's world.

Content Awareness Factors:

None. Be aware that  in addition to a class pet, Frankie gets a pet of her own. Armed with great information, your reader may ask for a pet, too!

Type of Book:
This is the first book in an illustrated chapter series set in a third-grade classroom. Frankie is an animal lover and inventor.
Educational Themes:

Interested in getting a pet? The story lays out a great, easy-to-follow process for going from research to decisions. Frankie, Maya, Ravi, and to a lesser extent Ben each share their research about potential class pets. Create a notebook of your own to jot down interesting facts about the various animals.

The story also introduces - and resolves - conflict between best friends Frankie and Maya. There are some excellent spots in the story where it is easy to pause and ask young readers how they would feel being Frankie or Maya.

Another good spot is near the end, when Ravi (not Frankie) presents information about the class pet she wants. As written, Frankie seems a little surprised. What do your readers think? How would they feel if a friend took their work?


Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 and Up
Recommended Age To Read Together:
7 to 10
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow. The story is worth the read. This would make a great gift for a transitional reader.

Title Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet

Frankie Sparks, Third Grade Inventor, Book 1

Author Megan Frazer Blakemore
Publisher Aladdin, Imprint Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing © 2019
Illustrators Nadja Sarell
ISBN 9781534430433
Material Paperback
Cost $5.99
Genres Animal (Nonfiction), Friendship, School

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