Frank and Bert

Nosy Crow. (Frank and Bert: Bk. 1). May 2023. 32p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9798887770000.
PreS-Gr 2–A fox called Frank introduces himself and his best friend, a bear called Bert. They love to play hide-and-seek—but Bert is terrible at hiding. Frank counts to 100 to give Bert more time, but as the numbers trail across the pages, Bert’s bright pink scarf comes unraveled, leaving an easy trail for Frank to follow. Frank realizes that “even though I love winning, I love my best friend more!” and pretends to give up, making Bert the happy winner. When it’s Frank’s turn to hide, he’s full of confidence, but readers will notice that Bert is holding a dangling piece of yarn from Frank’s blue hat, which begins to unravel as he runs off; on the final page, Bert is winking directly at readers. Bert is brown, shaped like an elongated gumdrop, with scribbly fur; Frank has pointy ears, a bushy tail, and straight orange and cream fur (he also holds his knitting needles correctly on the title page). Hot pink endpapers match the color and texture of Bert’s scarf. Naylor-Ballesteros takes a familiar game and gently subverts expectations, bringing readers in on the joke, and showing an example of a friend choosing kindness over victory.
VERDICT Engaging characters, kind friends, a game of hide-and-seek, and some playful fourth wall-breaking make for an excellent read-aloud; this is highly recommended.

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