Frankie Sparks and the Big Sled Challenge — “Frankie Sparks, Third-Grade Inventor” Series

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Book Review

Frankie Sparks and the Big Sled Challenge by Megan Frazer is the third book in the “Frankie Sparks, Third-Grade Inventor” series.

Plot Summary

Frankie Sparks shuts her eyes as her sled goes over Extreme Maximus, a bump on their sledding hill that sends sleds into the air. A lot of fifth graders go over it, but Frankie is the first third grader to do it. Her best friend, Maya, and classmate Luke congratulate her on the run. Lila Jones, who is not Frankie’s friend, questions her run and accidentally lets Frankie know about a sledding contest.

Farmington Recreation is hosting a create-your-own cardboard-and-duct-tape sled competition. Each sled has to hold three kids and be able to slide down the hill. As a third-grade inventor, Frankie can’t wait to enter, but first she has to find two other kids to be on her sledding team.

Frankie asks Maya, who agrees. As Frankie considers other possible teammates, Maya asks Ravi to join them. Frankie doesn’t want to be rude, so she includes him, but she is disappointed by Maya’s choice.

All the contestants go to an informational meeting. Frankie comes up with their team’s name without consulting her teammates. This upsets Maya and Ravi.

Frankie decides they will build a rocket sled and ignores Ravi’s idea for a dragon sled. Ravi, Maya and other competitors think Frankie’s rocket design looks like a pencil and not a rocket ship. This makes Frankie angry, and she yells at Lila. The organizer of the event gently reprimands Frankie.

Frankie wants her sled to have runners, but when she and her team test their sled, one of the runners breaks. Frankie sees Lila talking to a friend, and she feels they are laughing at her failure. Frankie sulks away, but teammates Maya and Ravi follow.

Maya tells Frankie that the competition isn’t about Frankie and Lila. It’s about all of them working together. Frankie knows she has been wrong, and she accepts her friend’s honesty. The team starts to work together to make a dragon sled. They have fun creating and testing it.

The day of the competition, Frankie’s team changes its name from the Rocket Squad to the Knights of Snowy Hill. At “Go!” all the handmade, cardboard sleds start down the hill. Frankie feels exhilaration as she and her teammates go down the hill together.

Luke’s team wins first place in speed, and Frankie’s team wins second. Lila’s team win’s first place in having the best-looking sled and costumes, and Frankie’s team wins second. Frankie’s team wins first place in team spirit. Later that day, Frankie and her team take their dragon sled down Extreme Maximus and conquer it together.

At the end of the book, the author talks about the design process and challenges kids to create an object only using cardboard and tape.

Christian Beliefs

None

Other Belief Systems

None

Authority Roles

Frankie remembers her mom telling her to fail forward. This means that a failure is one way for an inventor to take a design in a new direction. Frankie’s parents let Frankie, Maya and Ravi use their basement to build the sled. They also support the kids in doing this project.

Ms. Christine is running the contest for Farmington Recreation. She keeps reminding the children that the contest isn’t about winning. It’s about teamwork, fun and creativity.

Profanity & Violence

After going over a snow bump called Extreme Maximus, Frankie’s sled twirls in circles and stops before hitting a bench. When Frankie’s runner design fails, she wishes she could freeze into a snow statue.

Sexual Content

None

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments

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Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family.

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