The Frank Show
by David Mackintosh (Author)
When I received David Mackintosh’s The Frank Show in the post, I was so excited I danced around the kitchen. I adore his previous book, Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School, and this book is even better. From the stunning slipcover and endpapers to the book itself (all designed by Mackintosh), it’s a stellar piece of work.
The strong, vivid and touching story concerns a boy who has to bring a family member into school for show and tell. Unfortunately, the only person available is his eccentric Grandad, Frank, and the boy is horrified. Frank only likes old-fashioned things, eats pickled onion sandwiches and does not trust doctors or barbers. But Frank, with his army tales, his tattoo and the shrapnel lodged in his elbow is an unexpected hit with the class, making the boy a hero in the eyes of his peers.
The illustrations are extraordinary, wonderfully loose and expressive, each double- page spread a smorgasbord of original and inspiring images. It’s all here – the decorated backgrounds and collage of Lauren Child, the serious-faced yet playful children of early Sendak, the loose pencil lines and stark matt colour of Bernard Waber (Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile), but Mackintosh brings something new to the mix, a quirkiness and slightly black sense of humour that is all his own.
Like Shaun Tan, Mackintosh is an illustrator’s illustrator, a true artist, clever, fearless and original, and I can’t wait to see what he produces next. Mackintosh has been nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal, along with fellow Irish illustrators Chris Judge, Oliver Jeffers, Chris Haughton and Kevin Waldron. This, plus the news that Disney has just commissioned Brown Bag Films to turn Niamh Sharkey’s Hugglemonsters into a preschool series, makes it truly a golden age for Irish illustration.
This review was published online in