Frank, a hot dog, insists that he just wants to be left alone at his woodsy campsite so he can write his secret thoughts in his secret notebook. "No peeking at my words, owl," he tells a bird, who clearly has no interest in what Frank is writing. Readers, however, will suspect that Frank is a little lonely: "Good night, Frank," he says to himself. But everything changes with the arrival of Bean, a raucous legume who's constantly shouting ("DO I HEAR A COW?"), banging on a drum, or tooting a horn ("TOOT, TOOT!"). Over the course of four short chapters designed for early readers, the two slowly discover that they make a fine pair. Bean introduces Frank to jelly doughnut holes ("Hot diggity dog!" Frank says), and Frank's secret writings turn out to be poems that Bean can use as lyrics for his "one-bean band"--which quickly becomes a duo. While unlikely friendships abound in children's books, Kolar's (Trucker and Train) sleek, animation-style digital art and Michalak's (the Joe and Sparky series) highly performative dialogue build to a manic hilarity that makes these pals, as Bean might say, "half cool and half amazing." Ages 5-8. (Oct.)Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
PreS-Gr 1--Drawing inspiration from the vastly different personalities of her two children, Michalak has created an easy reader story of two anthropomorphic foods with almost nothing in common who become unlikely friends. Frank is a hot dog who wears glasses and a headlight helmet, likes to eat oatmeal, and writes in his secret notebook. Bean is a rather large bean who loves doughnuts, drums, and anything loud. The quiet of Frank's camping trip is shattered when Bean arrives in a bus loaded with musical instruments. Although Frank is initially put off by Bean's rapid-fire questions and limitless restless energy that is channeled into making music, the two foods come together when Frank helps Bean overcome his loneliness and fear of the forest at night. Their friendship deepens when Frank bravely shares one of his poems with Bean. The poem works perfectly with the new song Bean has composed. At the end of the book, the two new friends decide to create a band called the Chili Dogs. Frank's dialogue is matter-of-fact and informative, while Bean's excitement and limited attention span are shown conveyed through capital letters, bold type, and numerous exclamation points. Kolar's digital art is clean and pleasing, and the book contains four short chapters. VERDICT An engaging and humorous tale of two friends whose personality differences lead to growth as well as some fun adventures.--Sally James, South Hillsborough Elementary School, CACopyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.