frankie and the creepy cute critters

 I’m on a bit of a roll right now reading books with sassy, strong protagonists who are interested in “monsters” or spooky creatures. Caitlin Rose Boyle’s middle grade graphic novel Frankie and the Creepy Cute Critters is the latest in that lineup. It contains: fairies, encounters with and information about (real life) creepy animals, excellent, vibrant artwork, and a cool vibe.

frankie and the creepy cute critters book cover
Frankie Fairy loves to learn about creepy crawly critters in her own backyard! Now that she's at a new school, she's excited to learn even more about them! Instead, she learns that the other fairy kids in class think she's the creepy one. Is Frankie really that scary? And if she is—is that really a bad thing? Maybe her creepy crawly friends can help her figure it out!


Frankie Fairy and her mother have just moved to Mosstown for her mother’s new job as a professor, and Frankie is excited to start at a new school. However, on her first day, the other kids say she’s creepy, and no one will be her friend. Frankie is disappointed, and ready to tell her mom all about it – but she decides to go on a nature walk first. On her walk she encounters many creepy-cool creatures, and the friends she makes (and encouragement from her mom) eventually help her turn around her experience at school.


Frankie is a fun little fairy, starting with her appearance. She has bat-like wings and nose and teeth, and is all-around royal blue – a little more goth than the other fairies (who have the more “typical” looking dragonfly-ish wings and pastel skin and hair). She’s also super interested in the natural world – she keeps a field journal for her observations on and facts about animal and creature behavior. These two things set her apart from her new classmates, and as we know, people (and fairies) don’t respond well to anything “other.” Boyle has set up a scenario that many children will identify with: feeling ostracized and/or left out, and resolved it in a fun and surprising way. Frankie’s big personality is the best thing about her, but her cool room décor and outfits will enchant young readers as well.


That’s a great segue to a discussion about the art – which has a neon sour gummy worms color palette and vibe to match. Boyle uses heavy black lines, cute (almost twee!) details, and vibrant colors to appeal to young readers. The bugs and other creepy-crawlies in the book are rendered in loving, accurate detail, and in the back matter more animal facts are included for a field guide-esque feel. The overall effect is ridiculously charming, and I am hopeful that Frankie’s adventures don’t stop with one volume – I want to know more about her adventures in Mosstown!


In all, Frankie and the Creepy Cute Critters is a smart, charming graphic novel for young readers, and a quick read. It’s sure to be a hit with kids who think they’re too old for picture books, but love everything related to nature (and the supernatural!).


Recommended for: baby goths (or goths-in-the-making), readers ages 6-10+, fans of the Hex Vet series and Snapdragon, and anyone who likes learning about animals AND fantasy fiction!

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