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Freddy and the French Fries #1: : Fries Alive! (Freddy and the French Fries) Hardcover – Bargain Price, June 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 4-6–It's not easy being a boy genius when your father runs a floundering health-conscious burger joint and your older sister's a deeply annoying wannabe actress. But Freddy T. Funkhouser isn't distressed. He has a plan to win the prize for the best float at the local Founders' Day Parade and bring more attention to his dad's business. To do so, he has constructed five life-sized mechanical fries, each with its own personality. The hope is to bring these kooky creations to life through nanotechnology and a million jiggy-watts of power and then use them on his float. Yet when an experiment involving a dam and a bolt of lightning does awaken the electric fries, Freddy finds his troubles have only just begun. Baldacci, best known for his adult thrillers, is attempting to reach out to reluctant readers by creating a series very much in the vein of Dav Pilkey's "Captain Underpants" series (Scholastic), but for an older audience. Unfortunately, he lacks Pilkey's gleeful silliness and relies too heavily on gross-out jokes and slapstick pratfalls. His attempt to teach kids about the importance of friends and sticking together gets bogged down by poor writing and two-dimensional characters.–Elizabeth Bird, New York Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gr. 2-4. Adult suspense writer Baldacci tries his hand at children's fantasy in the first of a proposed series featuring nine-year-old science geek Freddy Funkhouser and his gang of monster fries. Freddy and his father and sister run a failing restaurant called Burger Castle. Freddy's nemesis is bully Adam Spanker, whose family owns a successful burger joint, Patty Cakes. Freddy's fries create unbelievable trouble (wreaking havoc on the baseball field and hitching a ride on top of a moving freight train), but they also save the day (and Burger Castle) in the end. Baldacci's over-the-top action vaults at breakneck speed from one crisis to another, his characters are intentionally stereotyped (somewhat like their television and video-game counterparts), and body orifice humor abounds. While such elements might give adults pause, kids, particularly fans of Daniel Pinkwater, Dav Pilkey, and Steven Manes, will undoubtedly be delighted. An accompanying Web site promises interviews, contests, and previews of upcoming books in the series. Kay Weisman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company (June 1, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 0316159980
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #405,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Baldacci published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 29 novels for adults, all of which have been national and international bestsellers; several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print. David has also published four novels for younger readers, including the #1 bestseller THE FINISHER, which is in development for feature film.

David received his Bachelor's degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

While David is involved with several philanthropic organizations, his greatest efforts are dedicated to his family's Wish You Well Foundation®. Established by David and his wife, Michelle, the Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and gently used books have been collected and distributed through food banks to families in need.

David and his family live in Virginia.

Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on June 3, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Young Freddy Funkhouser is having problems. First, his father, Alfred, a genius inventor, can't seem to make any of his inventions work well enough to make the family money. Second, his older sister, Nancy, loves to spout lines from Shakespeare and TV shows to anyone who will listen, hoping that her acting career will take off. How embarrassing!

Freddy is trying to help break his family out of their obscure rut by building an award winning float for the Pookesville Founder's Day Parade. If he can do it, perhaps their floundering family restaurant - that offers healthy food compared to the burger stand across the street owned by the Spanker family - might take off. A large task considering the Spankers ALWAYS win the float contest. But if Freddy has anything to say about it, they won't win this year! With the aid of Howie Kapowie, his one and only friend in town who seems solely to care about eating cheese cubes, they have very little chance. And with Adam Spanker (the town hooligan) always on their heels, things look even bleaker.

Can Freddy do it?

Not on his own. And he knows it. So he rigs up a contraption of nanotechnology mixed with super-secret potatoes, and an interesting accident occurs. When lightning strikes the potatoes, they turn into living, breathing, talking ...uh ...spuds. Fries alive! And now with Theodore, Wally, Curly, Si, and Meese, the town of Pookesville is in for an amazing surprise ...and so is the rival Spanker family. Can a misfit family use its brains to beat the brawn of the town?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on January 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
David Baldacci, popular suspense novelist (Hour Game) tries his hand at writing for the younger crowd in Freddy and the French Fries: Fries Alive!

Nine-year-old science whiz Freddy Funkhouser is having a lousy time of it lately. His father, an inventor is on a losing streak; none of his inventions are making any money. On top of that, the family restaurant, the Burger Castle, is not making any money with their healthy food offerings. Bully Adam Spanker (his family owns the successful restaurant, Patty Cakes) continues to be Freddy's worst nightmare. And then there is the sister who wants to be an actress.

Freddy is determined to help his family by building a spectacular float for the Pookesville Founder's Day Parade. It might bring the family business out of obscurity and actually make it a money-making proposition. The problem is that the Spankers always win the contest.

But Freddie has some special ideas he's putting into play. And with the help of his only friend, Howie Kapowie, there just might be a way for Freddie to use his intellect and science to win the day. Can Freddy save the day? Not without his super-powered spuds!

Armchair Interviews says: Younger children will have a great deal of fun with Freddy, Howie Kapowie, and the super-powered spuds. It's an exciting story and just silly enough to grab their attention.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Charlie_in_la on October 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Hey, this is not rocket science...

Unless you consider Si and Meese...

Warning, this review is written by an adult, and I had great fun reading the book. So, if you have children who read, let them read this book. It is fun, it is silly, it is good. So, let your child read the book. If they do, they will find out that family is best, even if she is an older sister, and that parents are important. Oh, and, the younger brother ...well... he should have had more parental and sisterly guidance, but he did the job.

Congrats to younger brothers everywhere.
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Format: Hardcover
Kids ages 8-12 will find an easy - and attractive - reader in David Baldacci's latest Freddy story, Freddy And The French Fries: Fries Alive!. Here a plan to win new business for the family Burgle castle results in a secret invention gone awry when Freddy's crazy creations wreck havoc. Another enthusiastically recommended Freddy story that presents zany easy reading adventures for children.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Spudman TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
What I like

The short chapters are great for short attention spans and for filling unexpected short periods of found time. Baldacci ends each chapter with a hint of things to come, a great motivator for juvenile readers or even and adult Potato Head.

The vocabulary is simple enough to be comfortable for young readers, yet brainy characters like Freddy and crinkle cut fry Theodore challenge better readers with their expanded vocabulary and words such as conundrum, posthaste, neuromuscular, nanotechnology, and spontaneous elemental combustion. The challenging vocabulary words are widely sprinkled through the pages like lightly salted fries.

The generous use of mildly taboo words such as fart, vomit, and poop appeals to young, male readers and keeps their interest.

Freddy is the ultimate underdog, undersized, brainy, and bespectacled, who triumphs over big, formidable, dumb enemies. In the end, friendship, good, and intelligence win.

Curly, the curly fry, speaks with unspaced words muchlikeIamtypingnow. Every bit of dialogue by Curly is a puzzle beggingtobesolved.

The numbers of each chapter are shaped with fries, a clever touch.

Minor Nit Picks

At first I had a hard time keeping the names of the fries straight. Their pictures and names on the back cover were extremely helpful.

I was surprised to find a handful of grammatical errors in the text, but any reader in the target audience most likely wouldn't notice or care.


Be sure to visit the Freddy and the French Fries web page. It includes detailed character sketches of the fries, related activities, and even a couple arcade style games.
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