By: Frank McKinney with Kate Mason
Publication Date: February 2009
Reviewed by: Will Gabbett
Review Date: December 2009
A talking fish, a menacing shark-like monster, three strong-willed children and a plethora of sea creatures await the reader of the imaginative Dead Fred, Flying LunchBoxes, and the Good Luck Circle.
Ppeekk (pronounced Peekie) has just moved to Florida and is heading off to school with her dad in their worn-out car. When the car failed to turn over, the pair decided to walk the short distance to school. The walk along a path of crushed shells turned out to be quite interesting and Ppeekk thought to herself that maybe Florida wouldn’t be so bad.
It wasn’t long before strange things begin to happen on Ppeekk’s daily walks. First there was a road crew with a little man who chanted a strange poem, then the young girl discovered a glittering circle on the cement, but strangest of all was the small fish she found on the drawbridge…a fish that talked!
The fish out of water was the royal Frederick the Ninth, King of High Voltage. Ppeekk shortened his name to Dead Fred, and after hearing his plight, pledged to help the fish gain back his kingdom. Megalodon, an evil shark-like creature, was trying to get into High Voltage to steal the Eternal Life Circle. The Circle had amazing powers that could prevent Megalodon from becoming extinct. With the help of two new friends, Quatro, a brainiac, and his little sister Mini Romey, Ppeekk sets out on an amazing underwater adventure.
Dead Fred, Flying LunchBoxes, and the Good Luck Circle has a remarkable slew of creative creatures, both in and out of the water. Lantern Fish, eels, giant clams, manatees, and dolphins are just a few of the creatures that come Ppeekk’s way. Some are good, some bad, but will she be able to tell the difference?
A nice twist to this story is that the lead character does not fearlessly take on each challenge. She is afraid of water and really doesn’t want to slip into the murky depths beneath the drawbridge. By the end, Ppeekk has her fears under control and is even told by one of the minor characters, “I gotta hand it to you. You got a lot of nerve for a girl.” It is also nice that adult intervention is kept to a minimum; this is a story for kids about kids.
Quill says: A great underwater adventure with fish, monsters and some very clever young adventurers.