Kids' books are a funny thing sometimes. One book might provide an exciting adventure but be light on substance while another might have too many lessons packed into a story that won't hold a child's interest. Lately however, there have been many authors who have provided great fiction with just the right level of moral lessons, history, or mythology — the Harry Potter series from J.K. Rowling and the Percy Jackson series from Rick Riordan are great examples and two of our current favorites.
But Frank McKinney isn't someone I would have expected to write or been involved with one of those "just right" books for children. McKinney is the author of multiple best-selling books, including The Tap, Burst This! Frank McKinney's Bubble-Proof Real Estate Strategies, Frank McKinney's Maverick Approach to Real Estate Success, and Make it BIG! 49 Secrets for Building a Life of Extreme Success. The closest a child might come to one of these books is as an impromptu step stool or booster seat.
However, McKinney was inspired by his adventures walking his daughter Laura to school through the years. As a father, I certainly understand the power of spending as much time as possible with your kids and their imaginations as they grow up. They grow up so fast that it's far too easy to miss things if you don't.
That's just one of the lessons hidden inside Dead Fred, Flying Lunchboxes, and the Good Luck Circle (or just Dead Fred for short). The book tells the story of Ppeekk (pronounced "Peekie") Rose Berry — a thirteen year-old girl forced to relocate from Indiana to Florida. Walking to school on her first day of school, she encounters a strange little man on the back of a cement truck who blows a magical smoke ring. Soon after that, she encounters a dead fish who comes back to life in her hands and talks to her. And that's just the beginning...
It took a long time to work through this book with my two daughters, ages five and nine. Not because the book wasn't entertaining or well written, but because things kept getting in the way. Finally, we managed to find the time to get all the way through Ppeekk's story and her adventure with her friends Mini Romey, Quatro, and the rest of the gang — and it was well worth the effort!