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Early Chapter Book Review – Franklin Endicott and the Third Key

 

 

Franklin Endicott and the Third Key

Written by Kate DiCamillo

Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

(Candlewick; $6.99, Ages 6 – 9)

 

 

 

 

 

Now available in paperback, Franklin Endicott and the Third Key is the latest installment in Kate DiCamillo’s popular Tales from Deckawoo Drive series. In this early chapter book, which is divided into eight chapters and a coda, the story focuses on Frank.

 

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FRANKLIN ENDICOTT AND THE THIRD KEY. Text copyright © 2021 by Kate DiCamillo. Illustrations copyright © 2021 by Chris Van Dusen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

 

 

Frank worries about everything, a trait that many kids (and adults, including this reviewer) will be able to relate to. It is one of these worries, which Frank has recorded in his book of worries, that leads him to his neighbors’ home to do some research using the Lincoln sisters’ . . . encyclopedias! No internet here! How refreshing to read about a child doing research the old-fashioned way and how respectful to see that Frank refers to his neighbor as Miss Lincoln, instead of by her first name. A priceless detail. Eventually, Frank accompanies Miss Lincoln to Buddy Lamp’s Used Goods to get a copy of a key made; this is where the “mystery” begins as Frank discovers a third key after returning home. Charged with the daunting task of returning to Buddy Lamp’s shop alone to give back the third key, Frank must be fearless enough to handle the puzzle that has landed on his not-so-brave shoulders.

Franklin Endicott Third Key int.2
FRANKLIN ENDICOTT AND THE THIRD KEY. Text copyright © 2021 by Kate DiCamillo. Illustrations copyright © 2021 by Chris Van Dusen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

 

Chris Van Dusens black-and-white illustrations rendered in gouache jump off the page with the detailed facial expressions of the different characters which no reader will be able to resist viewing in contemplation.

 

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FRANKLIN ENDICOTT AND THE THIRD KEY. Text copyright © 2021 by Kate DiCamillo. Illustrations copyright © 2021 by Chris Van Dusen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

 

With Mercy Watson the pig, a star of her own series, appearing in this title as well, children will be delighted to see her join the cast of characters with a significant role. And as for that book of worries to which the reader was first introduced at the beginning of the story, it gets replaced in a manner of sorts by a different one (courtesy of Buddy Lamp), resulting in an unexpected and heartwarming ending that spans the generations between young Frank and his elderly neighbor.

  • Reviewed by Freidele Galya Soban Biniashvili

 

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Early Chapter Book Review – Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem

STELLA ENDICOTT AND THE ANYTHING-IS-POSSIBLE POEM:

TALES FROM DECKAWOO DRIVE

Written by Kate DiCamillo

Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

(Candlewick Press; $14.99, Ages 6-9)

 

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Starred Review – Kirkus

“I like the idea that anything is possible, don’t you?” (Stella to her teacher, p. 7)

In Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem, Stella Suzanne Endicott, is one of those glorious young children who finds the whole world and all of life absolutely amazing. A wonderfully engaged, curious and imaginative child, she lives in the same neighborhood as that awesome pig, Mercy Watson, and other characters on Deckawoo Drive. On the first day of school, she meets her new teacher, Tamar Calliope Liliana, and thinks the teacher’s name “… sounded like the name of a good fairy in a deeply satisfying story … “ Her “arch nemesis” is Horace Broom, a big know-it-all, whom she finds most annoying.

 

Stella Endicott int1
STELLA ENDICOTT AND THE ANYTHING-IS-POSSIBLE POEM. Text copyright © 2020 by Kate DiCamillo. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Chris Van Dusen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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When Miss Liliana asks the students to write a poem using a metaphor, “Stella had a feeling that she was going to be very, very good at coming up with metaphors.” Unable to work at home, due to her brother’s hovering (he sometimes reminds her of Horace), she goes to visit Mercy Watson and curls up beside her on the couch.  As everyone knows it is

 “… a very comforting thing to lean up against a warm pig.”
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Stella Endicott int2
STELLA ENDICOTT AND THE ANYTHING-IS-POSSIBLE POEM. Text copyright © 2020 by Kate DiCamillo. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Chris Van Dusen. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

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The next day she and Horace have a disagreement over Mercy Watson. Horace, a literal type, refuses to believe a pig could live in a house and sleep on the couch! Stella angrily assures him that Mercy Watson does! Miss Liliana sends the arguing pair to Principal Tinwiddie’s office (“the toughest sheriff in town”). Horace, greatly frightened of the principal and of a blemish on his academic record, flees from the office and hides in the janitor’s storage closet. Stella races after him and, as she steps inside the closet, the door closes and the two are locked in. Did I mention that poor Horace is also claustrophobic? While they wait to be rescued, Stella comforts him. A glow in the dark map of the solar system gives Horace the opportunity to help Stella learn the names of the planets, and keeps his mind off of his fears. They share the things they love best: Horace, who wants to be an astronaut, loves telescopes, Stella loves metaphors. By the time they are rescued, both are fast friends.

With an almost lyrical narrative, a gently humorous, but thoughtful story, and delightfully quirky characters, this early chapter book is pure DiCamillo. Van Dusen’s gouache illustrations humorously enhance the narrative. DiCamillo helps children see the value of imagination and creativity and that trying to understand that annoying person could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. As Stella always says: “anything can happen …”

Kate DiCamillo
Chris Van Dusen

  •  Reviewed by Dornel Cerro

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