Fans of Leroy Ninker Saddles Up (2014) will relish this new tale, which successfully expands the core of the Mercy Watson series while offering generous cameos from the original characters, as well as much buttered toast. No one offers early readers better quality prose than DiCamillo, who never allows the constrictions of this format to deter her from excellent writing: "Franny, you are the genuine article. You are solid. You are certain. You are like a refrigerator. You hum." Series illustrator Van Dusen’s artwork (not seen in final form) is a treat, as always, reflecting the quirkiness of DiCamillo’s unique cast of characters. Francine Poulet will wrangle readers’ hearts along with rascally wildlife in this standout early chapter book.
—Booklist (starred review)
New readers ready for a challenge and some laughs will welcome more characters from Deckawoo Drive.
Like Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, it’s a witty yet tender reminder of the importance of being one’s best self. You do you, Francine.
With plenty of white space and a large font the title is tailor-made for young readers transitioning to chapter books and will be enjoyed by "Mercy Watson" (Candlewick) fans and new readers alike...A worthy addition to the series.
—School Library Journal
DiCamillo's quick, dryly hilarious dialogue makes this over-the-top story shine, as does the tender subplot about Francine's father, who still roots for her from the great beyond. Chris Van Dusen's comical caricatures of Officer Poulet, the ridiculously bejeweled Mrs. Bissinger and that crazy ghost raccoon make the whole book hum.
The wacky plot comes smartly together with humorous insights and lively illustrations. Familiar characters, including Frank and Stella, the Lincoln sisters, and Mrs. Watson, lead the story to its climax on Deckawoo Drive, resulting in the raccoon’s capture, the restoration of Francine’s self-esteem, and lots of toast.
—The Horn Book
DiCamillo’s writing is diverting and warmly descriptive, the story has heart, and Francine is an undeniably likable character. Even in black and white, Van Dusen’s illustrations evince warmth and humor. Fans of the first book in the series, Leroy Ninker Saddles Up (BCCB 9/14), and the Mercy Watson books may find similar enjoyment here.
—Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
School librarians will definitely want to add this new escapade to their collections.
—School Library Connection
Kate DiCamillo delivers an inspiring message replete with suspense and fun...
DiCamillo devotes her second Tales from Deckawoo Drive story to animal control officer Francine Poulet, previously seen in Mercy Watson Thinks Like a Pig. Fearless and highly decorated, Francine may have met her match when she is called in to catch a shimmering “ghost raccoon” that seems to be screaming her name. A three-story “tumble” leads to a crisis of confidence, but Francine is back in the animal control game before long. Like Leroy Ninker Saddles Up, it’s a witty yet tender reminder of the importance of being one’s best self. You do you, Francine. Art not seen by PW. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)
K-Gr 2—Welcome back to the world of Mercy Watson and friends! In this installment, the fearless and unflappable Francine Poulet, animal control officer extraordinaire, is called upon by the bejeweled Mrs. Bissinger to capture a screaming, ghostly raccoon. When Francine faces the raccoon, she unexpectedly panics and ends up in the hospital. Her self-confidence lost, she resigns her position because she no longer knows who she is. "She was not an animal control officer. And she was not a Poulet, because Poulets never panic." Then she meets Frank, an observant boy who not only knows the whereabouts of the still-at-large raccoon but encourages her to face her fears and live up to her true calling, to remember "she was the genuine article…solid as a refrigerator." Encouraging readers to believe in themselves, this short chapter book pairs illustrations on almost every page with brisk dialogue and short, descriptive sentences. With plenty of white space and a large font the title is tailor-made for young readers transitioning to chapter books and will be enjoyed by "Mercy Watson" (Candlewick) fans and new readers alike. VERDICT A worthy addition to the series.—Ramarie Beaver, Plano Public Library System, TX
Francine Poulet, the laconic and intrepid animal control officer of Gizzford County, is having a crisis of confidence. Even though she has won 47 trophies for animal catching and hails from a long line of animal control officers, nothing can prepare her for her encounter with one very unusual and creepy raccoon. Mrs. Bissinger has reported a raccoon that shimmers like a ghost and screeches her name. But Francine's father always said she was solid and down-to-earth, and she refuses to believe in a talking ghost raccoon. When Francine faces the screaming critter, however, it screams "Frannnnnnnnnnnyyyyy!"—the name only her father called her. She is so spooked she panics, grabbing the raccoon almost by accident and falling three stories off the roof, injuring both her body and her confidence. Only by facing her fears can Francine truly call herself a Poulet once again. Exaggerated illustrations are filled with the energy and humor warmly familiar to readers of the Mercy Watson series. This relatively longer format allows DiCamillo to create more complex secondary characters, who add much to the story. The dreamy conversation between solid Francine and her deceased father adds a needed touch of seriousness to the comic premise. New readers ready for a challenge and some laughs will welcome more characters from Deckawoo Drive. (Fiction. 6-9)