Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Mo O'Hara
Illustrator: Marek Jagucki
Publisher: Square Fish
Older siblings are the worst. At least, that’s the opinion of most younger siblings, including Tom. While simulating the effect of pollution on fish, Tom’s evil older brother Max almost kills Frankie, the goldfish. After being shocked back to life, Frankie must now escape Max’s multiple diabolical attempts to recapture him. Max is soon accompanied by his neighbor, who joins in his evil plan to help capture Frankie and eventually take over the entire elementary school. Tom and his friend, Pradeep, must find a way to stop them, and save Frankie in the process.
Mo O’Hara has perfectly encapsulated the thoughts and attitudes of pre-teen children in this book. From over exaggerations to misunderstood idioms, this book is relatable to its fourth, fifth, and sixth grade audiences. O’Hara has provided enough suspense to keep the reader engaged, without leaving the reader hanging for long. There are illustrations frequently throughout the book to assist children in visualizing the story. The most comical ones illustrate the idioms that Tom misunderstands, such as ‘keeping an eye on you’ which features a terrified boy sitting in a hospital bed with an eyeball on his lap. This is a perfect read for any pre-teen.