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My fabulous friend Bunny Lovell, from the excellent book review blog Books With Bunny, has agreed to do a regular guest slot for us here at Making Them Readers.

In this post she is reviewing Frankie Versus The Rowdy Romans by Frank Lampard.  This is the second book in his Frankie’s Magic Football series.

Frank Lampard is, as many of you will undoubtedly know, better known for his footballling skills than his writing skills.  The Frankie books are a whole series written by Frank, I believe, with the aid of someone else, and his first foray into the world of children’s literature.

His efforts received a lot of press coverage when the books first came out.  The emphasis of the articles seemed to be that Frank is doing his bit to encourage boys to read, and to see reading as something that is both cool, and compatible with other, potentially more desirable skills, like playing football.

I have no argument with him, but I have yet to meet a child who has read any of the books to see if there is any substance behind the spin.

Bunny gives us her opinion of the second book in the series here.

Frankie vs. the Rowdy Romans is the second book in England and Chelsea footballer Frank Lampard’s Frankie’s Magic Football series.  I reviewed the first book for the Books with Bunny blog, earlier in the week and found it to be a valiant effort to produce an engaging read for 6-9 year olds. You can read my review here.

Frankie vs the Rowdy Romans follows the same formula as the previous book.  Frankie and his friends are magically transported to play a football match, this time at the Colosseum in ancient Rome.  Can Frankie and his friends beat the rowdy Romans and be home in time for tea?

I didn’t enjoy this second book as much as the first in the series.  I felt there could have been more drama and excitement relating to the atmosphere in the Colosseum and that the sections where the spirited audience showed their emotions were the most successful parts of the story.  These were humorous and affirming, yet much of the rest of the section about the match itself was a bit longwinded and I found myself willing the action to speed up.

Additional features of a maze for children to complete and further ‘Top Trumps’ style cards (which are also to be found in the other books in the Frankie’s Magic Football series) that can be found at the end of the book may appeal to children, especially those who look for more than purely a story from their books.

Overall I was slightly disappointed by this one, but still admire Frank Lampard’s passionate attitude towards promoting children’s fiction.  I can also see that it may appeal to reluctant readers, particularly boys, and that can only be a good thing.

Frankie vs the Rowdy Romans is out now, published by Little, Brown.


With thanks to Little, Brown for providing me with a copy of this book in return for an honest review.