Hot dog! Humor, Wordplay & Friendship, too.


Frank is a poet who likes things quiet. Very quiet! Bean is a musician who loves rock and roll. When Bean parks his bus in Frank's neck of the woods, Frank isn't happy. Bean is loud. Bean is pushy. Bean asks a lot of questions. Bean is on a journey to find words. He can make music, but he can't put words with it. Lucky for Bean, he has Frank. Frank shows him that words are all around. Then Frank does the unthinkable - he reads one of his poems to Bean! Bean likes it so much he invites Frank to join his band. And guess what Frank said?

Parent Perspective:
This is a fun - if not predictable - story of friendship. Kids will enjoy "figuring out" the humor in Frank's name, as well as some clever wordplay that fits them both. Although different, both Frank and Bean have strong personalities. Frank is a bit direct, which is more likely adult-discerned, but still fits his name. Bean's persona is more obvious because most of his dialogue is written in all caps. That is a great tool to help new readers learn to convey emotion as they read, but it was almost too much. By the time readers are ready for pages with this much text density, they have built fluency skills.

Chapters 1 and 2 have an illustration-to-text ratio I expect in an easy reader. At the close of chapter 2 and all of chapter 3, there is more text/page than illustration space. Although it is an easy transition for an adult or accomplished reader, that is a big leap for newer readers. Kids who saw themselves as successful early may get frustrated later in the story with longer sentences and less help from the images to help them decode. For that reason, I'd recommend this as an all-adult read-aloud with young kids (kindergarten, first grade), and a "shared read," with developing and transitional readers in second and third grade.


Reader Enjoyment Factors:

It's hard not to love a hot dog named Frank! Lots of repetition and the opportunity to be loud and make noise will make this an instant hit with young readers.

Content Awareness Factors:

Frank is, as his name suggests, direct. His frankness is more likely to be seen as rudeness by some readers. Bean is a loud character. His dialogue is often expressed in all caps, and he makes lots of noise - even when asked to be quiet.

Type of Book:
This is book 1 in an easy reader series about the friendship and adventures of a hot dog and bean.
Educational Themes:

This is a beginning reader to help second-graders build reading stamina and vocabulary. At its heart, this is a story of friendship. Ask your readers which character they like more and which one is more like them. What do they think the turning point for the friendship is.

- How did Frank help Bean?
- How did Bean help Frank?

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
7 to 9
Recommended Age To Read Together:
5 to 8
Purchase Recommendation:
Buy if you are reading aloud with a kindergartner or first grader. Borrow if you haven't discovered this until your child is learning to read.

Title Frank and Bean
Author Jamie Michalak
Publisher Candlewick Press, Walker Books Group © 2019
Illustrators Bob Kolar
ISBN 9780763695590
Material Hard Cover
Cost $15.99
Genres Music, Friendship, Humor

More Reviews

Here are some other books we have reviewed that you may like!


James Howe
Candlewick Press, Walker Books Group © 2008


Wong Herbert Yee
HMH Books for Young Readers © 2008


Cynthia Rylant


Jory John