Summary: Anybody Here Seen Frenchie
In Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?, 11-year-old Aurora Petrequin’s life changes when she befriends Frenchie Livernois, a new neighbor her age who doesn’t speak. Frenchie is on the autism spectrum but immediately feels comfortable with Aurora who can’t seem to stop talking or control or impulse to interrupt others. Both kids enjoy nature and Frenchie is especially fond of birds. But when they move into a new grade, they’re placed in different classes and Frenchie is assigned an aide. Aurora starts to feel guilty as she makes new friends and can’t devote all her attention to her friendship with Frenchie. The guilt intensifies when Frenchie goes missing one day.
This was a quirky story about a unique friendship between two different kids. I liked that the story is narrated from multiple perspectives: Aurora’s, Frenchie’s, and some members of their community. The mystery of Frenchie being missing was so nicely done especially with the multiple perspectives. Readers could see that Frenchie was safe while seeing how hard everyone was working to find him.
Frenchie is on the autism spectrum and while the author is not (from all I know), she does admit to doing plenty of research to understand kids like Frenchie. It’s also clear that autism looks different for different children. I liked that we get to hear from Frenchie, see how he views Aurora and live for a bit in his head. I loved Aurora and Frenchie’s friendship — they both fit so well and Aurora’s sensitivity towards Frenchie and his needs (and individuality) just warmed my heart.
Aurora is an interesting character (who would honestly tire me out with her talking) and I felt a lot of sympathy for her as she navigated the guilt of finding new friends with whom Frenchie didn’t always fit in. She also struggles when she finds out that he’s missing. The community and their love for Frenchie and his single mother really shines as they search the woods for him.
Overall: Anybody Here Seen Frenchie
Anybody Here Seen Frenchie? is a tender, heartwarming exploration of a friendship between two kids who seem wildly different on the surface. This story highlights a neurodivergent character who is loved and seen by his best friend — and his community. It also examines how we can make room for more than one kind of friendship. This is a quirky, character-driven story that might not appeal to every kid reader, but is sure to be loved by adult readers. I enjoyed it and would highly recommend it for the atmospheric writing and sweet friendship plot.