From Publishers Weekly
Frankie Murphy, who has moved from Philadelphia, thinks everyone in Harpersville, Ind., is lame. He is so sure of his superiority on every subject--including kissing girls--that he makes a bet with Guthrie's protagonist, Travis Marshall, that he can kiss every girl in the sixth grade before they graduate to junior high. Frankie's prize if he wins? Travis's beloved Oakland A's jacket. Guthrie ( The Witch Who Lives Down the Hall ) has written a surprisingly engaging story given the somewhat forced premise. Its message--that you can't treat girls as if they weren't real people with real feelings--is a satisfying one; Guthrie's portrayal of Travis's awkward realization during the painful course of the bet that he likes his best friend Annie in a special way that might be more than "just friends" is delicately handled, while a bit predictable. Guthrie's prose and dialogue are entertaining and credible ("Practically every girl in the whole school had a crush on him because he looked like Jason Priestly," Travis thinks of Frankie), as are the various contexts in which the plot line moves (roller-skating, girls' basketball practice, Ferris wheel rides). The only oddity in this story is that the prevailing "girls vs. guys" mentality remains unquestioned--even at the end of the book. Ages 9-13.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
Travis Marshall has had enough of Frankie Murphy's bragging about Philadelphia, where he used to live, and about the girls he's kissed. Most of the other sixth graders think Frankie's the coolest thing that's ever come to Harpersville, but Travis wants to call his bluff. He bets his beloved Oakland A's jacket that Frankie can't kiss all the girls in class before the end of school, in five weeks. Starting with ``weird'' Penelope Finchester (who makes and distributes buttons to save endangered species), Frankie rises to the challenge, and soon there's only one girl he hasn't kissed--Travis's best friend, Annie Davis. But by then, Travis has realized that losing his jacket is not the worst thing about the bet: what's really wrong is tricking and taking advantage of the girls. Still, they have the last word: on promotion day, Penelope hands out buttons to the entire class. ``I'VE BEEN A SIXTH GRADE JERK,'' read the boys', while the girls' proclaim, ``FRANKIE MURPHY IS THE WORLD'S WORST KISSER!'' Believable, endearing characters, snappy dialogue, and a good story make this latest from Guthrie (The Witch Who Lives down the Hall, 1985) an authentic, funny slice of pre-junior-high life. (Fiction. 9-12) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.