Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus: Uncle Frank’s Pit

McElligott (The Truth About Cousin Ernie’s Head, 1996) finds inspiration in Uncle Frank, an amiable old codger who is full of cockamamie ideas and immune to suggestions that he’s worn out his welcome. Uncle Frank answers an invitation to drop in on his relatives: ” ‘I can only stay a few hours,’ said Uncle Frank. A month later, he was still with us.” A scientist/inventor with a shock of white hair to make Einstein proud, and one card shy of a deck, Uncle Frank believes that dinosaur bones are buried in the backyard and starts to dig and dig and dig. As the young narrator’s father becomes increasingly vexed, Uncle Frank changes his mind and keeps digging, first for oil and then for buried treasure. His hole in the ground begins to resemble a full-service apartment, and he orders a hot tub to make it homier yet. At the climactic moment when the narrator’s father has had enough and Uncle Frank is about to be evicted, treasure is struck: an Easter Island-like statue that resembles Uncle Frank (who hastens off to his next adventure). This is a good-time, goofy story, without deep meanings or hidden agendas. The illustrations, chock full of color and shadow, have the fuzzy quality of low-tech computer artwork. (Picture book. 5-8)