Books & Literature

Book Review: Frankie and the Fossil, by Jess McGeachin

PICTURE BOOK: A sweet and funny picture book for anyone who loves dinosaur fossils, friends and cheese sandwiches.

A heart-warming story about loneliness, friendships and finding your place in the world.

Jess McGeachin is a Melbourne-based writer/illustrator and designer. Frankie and the Fossil is obviously inspired by his love of natural history and his day job at the Melbourne Museum. He loves to create hidden worlds and his illustrations will be familiar to those children who enjoyed When We Fly and The Lost Library.

In Frankie and the Fossil, Frankie is an only child who loves all things dinosaur. She has memorised everything there is to know about them, including names, height and length. But she has no one with whom to share her passion. One day at the museum, she disobeys a sign and feeds a fossil her cheese sandwich. When the dinosaur follows her home, she discovers there is more to dinosaurs than she ever imagined.

And so begins a story of friendship and finding your place in the world.

McGeachin’s illustrations are colourful and detailed. He cleverly brings the important parts of the illustration to the fore while the background, although still detailed and an essential part of the picture, fades away behind. They evoke the initial loneliness of Frankie and we feel her joy when she discovers her new friend.

Frankie’s being obsessed with dinosaurs, as young children often are, is obvious in an early illustration on the train when we find ourselves privy to the thoughts of the other people. It is also extremely clever how McGeachin has been able to give the skeleton a personality just by moving an eyeball or the position of the head.

The final double-page spread is covered in named dinosaurs where your little dinosaur-lover can test their own knowledge. A bright-green cover will also ensure this book doesn’t get lost easily. It is wonderful that the main character is a girl, as there are many girls who love dinosaurs just as much as boys.

There are loads of little people who love dinosaurs and Frankie and the Fossil would be a lovely addition to their library.

Reviewed by Sue Mauger

Distributed by: Penguin Books
Released: 3 August 2021
RRP: $24.99

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