Review Detail

Frolics in the Fridge
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast wake up in their refrigerator home to discover that the lightbulb that usually illuminates their world is gone and they have been plunged into darkness! In the distance, however, they see a faint glow, and upon investigation discover that the bulb is being used in a far corner to light only Las Veggies, run by the marginally evil Count Caper. He denies having stolen it, and his veggie goons eject our heroes. Not ones to stew, they leap from the frying pan into the fire and round up their friends to help formulate a plan to keep the lights on. Inspector Croissant, Professor Biscotti, Miss Brie and others assemble to cook up a plan to infiltrate Count Caper's Tower and retrieve the light bulb with the help of a packet of animal crackers. Will they be able to understand Count Caper's motivation and convince him to shine his light on the entire refrigerator?
Good Points
Told in Funk's solid rhyming style, the story moves at a brisk clip and reminded me strongly of David Kirk's 1992 Miss Spider's Tea Party, which I read approximately 4,000 times when my children were little. The meter helped propel the story forward and added a sense of urgency to the quest. I enjoyed the fact that the rhyming included more complex words; dismay, sneer, barge, and even grandiose are used. I'm convinced that using these words in picture books help toddlers build impressive vocabularies, and they also make the books a bit more fun for adults to read multiple times! There's even a nice message about the power of friendship.

Kearney's illustrations are rich with detail; every pickle in a jar has a face, and the expressions on the animal crackers' visages are delightful. Young readers will be able to spend hours identifying the items in the refrigerator, and might even want to recreate scenes if they have play kitchens with plastic food. There's such scope for the imagination here, and had my children read these, there would have definitely been some Halloween costumes based on the characters. Quilt batting would make great whipped cream hair.

Such a wide assortment of vegetables are used, and this would be a great spring board for introducing them to young readers' diets, although as a parent you have to be somewhat comfortable with cannabalism. "Open wide! Here comes Asparagus! I took off his glasses and jacket. No, don't cry. It's not really Sir French Toast's friend." On second thought, there might be a lot of back story about the nonsentient versions of the vegetables necessary before making this leap.

This fifth installment doesn't disappoint, but I do have a LOT of questions. Is the refrigerator open? Is the light really on all the time inside a refrigerator? How could we even tell? Is Count Caper's Las Veggies in the vegetable crisper, which is why the main part of the unit is dark? How dark IS it inside a refrigerator? Where is Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast's apartment? The butter compartment on the door? And how is there a window? And a tiny flashlight? You might laugh, but I would have spent hours discussing this sort of thing with my children. Any book that appeals to both children and adults alike is worth investigating, even if you can't find a packet of animal crackers to help you. (And does anyone keep these in the fridge? Hmmm!)
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