If books narrated by animals aren’t your thing, you still might want to spend some time with Frankie the cat. He’s been on the loose and can’t find his way home. A series of chance meetings eventually lead him to Amelia, a girl whose choices and fears are ones often found with those on the autism spectrum.
Chester and Gus, from the previous story by the same name, play a part in this new story. No problem if you haven’t read the critically acclaimed tale about Gus and his his service dog before reading this one. Frankie and Amelia stands well on its own. Here’s the official background:
After being separated from his family, Franklin becomes an independent cat, until he meets a goofy dog named Chester. Chester is a service dog to his person, a boy named Gus, and Chester knows just the girl to be Franklin’s person—Gus’s classmate, Amelia.
Amelia loves cats, but has a harder time with people. Franklin understands her, though, and sees how much they have in common. When Amelia gets into some trouble at school, Franklin wants to help the girl who’s done so much to help him. He’s not sure how, yet, but he’s determined to try.
This sweet and moving novel demonstrates how powerful the bond between pets and people can be, while thoughtfully depicting a neurodivergent tween’s experience.
Frankie’s narration is superbly crafted and keeps what could have been a slow moving story into a journey of discovery. The loneliness and fears Amelia displays are heartbreaking. Frankie is a great observer. He wants to help but doesn’t know how. Thankfully, there is Chester who occasionally drops in for support and has some memorable conversations with Frankie.
Readers will learn about neurodivergence (a term for people whose brains function differently in one or more ways) and autism, one of the main types of neurodiversity. The thirty chapters would work well as a read-aloud and discussion starter toward understanding. There’s no resolution with Frankie’s previous family but maybe there will be more from these characters in the future.
FIVE MORE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT FRANKIE and AMELIA by Cammie McGovern
- I haven’t had a cat since I was 10 years old, but I sure understand them better after Frankie clued me in.
- A story about acceptance and love, something this world could use a lot more of right now.
- The bond between animals and humans is given center stage along with what makes the connection so important. Those that own a dog or cat will smile in agreement and others might just long for a pet of their own.
- The healing power of friendship is given a unique turn in this tale.
- The parent’s separation and Dad’s new life with another lady is another hurdle Amelia has to contend with and understand. This story line handled this nicely with at least some resolution.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cammie McGovern is the author of HARD LANDINGS, a memoir about the transition her oldest son, who has autism, made into adult services. She has also written three books for young adults, SAY WHAT YOU WILL, A STEP TOWARD FALLING, and JUST BREATHE, and three books for middle-grade readers, JUST MY LUCK, CHESTER AND GUS, and FRANKIE AND AMELIA. All feature young people with a variety of disabilities at the center. She has been widely honored for her work advocating on behalf of people with disabilities. Her books have been called “joyful, inspiring and unforgettable,” by Katherine Applegate. In addition to writing for The New York Times, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, and other magazines, she has also written three adult novels and is one of the proud founders of Whole Children/Milestones, a resource center for children and young adults with disabilities and their families. She lives in Amherst, MA with her husband and three sons.
(For more about Cammie and her books visit her web site)
I received a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review. Comments are always appreciated.