Review: The Best of Iggy (Iggy Frangi #1) by Annie Barrows, illus. Sam Ricks
Source: Hardcopy courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada. Thank you!
Publication: January 21, 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Meet Iggy Frangi. He’s not a bad kid, he’s really not. Okay, so he’s done a few (a few is anything up to 100) bad things. And okay, he’s not very sorry about most of them. People make a big deal about nothing. What’s a little pancake here and there? Is that something to get mad about? Iggy doesn’t think so. No one got hurt, so there’s no problem. No one got hurt except for that one time, that one time when the Best Idea Ever turned into the Worst Idea of All Time.
Iggy is sorry he did it. He is really, really, really sorry.
“For what?” you might ask. “What did he do?”
Well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.
Things Iggy will NOT do in this book:
Be the most polite kid ever.
Play the cello.
Think before acting.
Learn a lesson.
Regret his actions. (Most of them, anyway.)
…once in a while, not very often, we wish we had not done a thing at all. We wish it could be erased. We wish we had never thought it. We wish we could go back in time and not do it.
Readers who clamour for children’s book series such as The Terrible Two, Dory Fantasmagory, or any title featuring Ramona Quimby, here is something new and fantastic. Author Annie Barrows, behind the best-selling Ivy + Bean series (illustrated by Sophie Blackall), and illustrator Sam Ricks (Mo Jackson series, written by David A. Adler) team up for the wonderfully clever, perceptive and funny illustrated chapter book The Best of Iggy.
That’s what this book is about: bad things Iggy did. You will also learn about an important idea called extenuating circumstances, but not right now.
Narrated via third person omniscient point of view, The Best of Iggy centers around nine year old “hero of the book” Iggy Frangi and the “three types of things we wish we hadn’t done”, as illustrated by Iggy. Going from bad to worse to the WORST of situations, readers follow Iggy through three very different incidents, all the while learning about intentions, perceptions, and what extenuating circumstances are. The novel also explores questions surrounding conceptions about being “bad” and feeling sorry- or not so sorry- about our actions. The third person narrative may seem uncommon at first (though I personally love this style!), but it works terrifically here to clearly (and concisely) navigate Iggy’s mishaps and decision-making processes (or lack thereof) that lead to the BIG moments in the story. I do not wish to get into too much of the plot here (Iggy’s three big things are really better served as surprises!), but I will say that a trampoline, a cello-playing kid named Jeremy Greerson, lipstick, shaving cream, new school desks, a teacher nicknamed Puttzi, and firefighters are somehow all involved.
In all, The Best of Iggy is very well done; highly engaging, zippy, comical, with moments of surprise, delight and OH NO!. Barrows is, as ever, on the ball capturing young character voices and dialogue, while Sam Ricks’ illustrations (featured throughout) wonderfully capture the buzzing energy and emotions of Iggy. Labeled as book one in the Iggy Frangi series, readers may look forward to further (mis)adventures, mishaps and terrific insight featuring the dynamic and memorable Iggy Frangi. Bonus: Check out this interview with Annie Barrows, talking about The Best of Iggy, here!
I received a copy of this title courtesy of Penguin Random House Canada in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and comments are my own.