Reviews for Lunch Walks Among Us


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2004 Spring
Ghoulish Franny, who has a laboratory in her bedroom and keeps spiders for pets, hopes to win friends by concocting a potion that will turn her into a more conventional girl. When a classroom catastrophe occurs, Franny reverts to her old self and saves the school. Comic-book illustrations overwhelm the brief text, whose gross-out humor and gimmicky flip-action section seem to imitate Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants books. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2003 August #1
An anything-but-subtle tale about learning to get along with others, infused with bathroom humor and featuring a pint-sized Morticia Addams as main character. Whether it's her mad-scientist glare, her preference for gourmet lunches, or her love of bats, Franny has trouble making friends, until her teacher suggests that she approach it as another science experiment. After taking systematic notes on peer behavior, Franny boils up an effective sweetness-and-light potion in her home lab-but then has to take the antidote when a Giant Monstrous Fiend rises from the garbage can and climbs the school's flagpole with the teacher under one claw. Franny uses cold cuts from her classmates' sandwiches to create a Frankenstein-ish ally, and thus becomes a hero by Being Herself. Large cartoons take up more space than the text, and Benton adds a mix-'n'-match feature that requires cutting several pages into flaps that can be flipped back and forth. This isn't anything like a blatant grab for Captain Underpants fans, oh no. (Fiction. 7-9) Copyright Kirkus 2003 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2003 September #5
The Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist series gets off to a silly start with this copiously and cartoonishly illustrated novel, which bears at least a passing visual resemblance to Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants capers. The young heroine is clearly not an average child: she fills her room with bats, snakes and a flying piranha-plus test tubes, beakers and "a whole bunch of crackling electrical gizmos that [she] had made all by herself." Not surprisingly, the other kids at school keep their distance when they see Franny using a snake for a jump rope (never mind that her favorite doll, Chompolina, sports steel teeth that can bite off the heads of other dolls). Franny's sympathetic teacher (whom Benton drolly names "Miss Shelly") suggests Franny conduct an "experiment" to discover how to make friends with her classmates, whereupon the budding mad scientist concocts a potion that transforms her into a sweet-looking girl in a frilly dress and adopts new eating and playing habits to fit in with her peers. But when items the students have thrown into the trash turn out to be the formula for a "Giant Monstrous Fiend," Franny reverts to her mad-scientist ways to create a "Lunch-Meat Creature" that does in the evil monster. Black-and-white drawings (including a section where readers cut pages horizontally to turn them into a create-a-monster game) echo the narrative's hyperbolic humor. Ages 7-10. (Sept.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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