Cranky Frankie
Reading Comprehension Activity

Author: RV Staff Writer J.C.

Marco is getting fed up with Frankie, his baby brother who cries and yells a lot. When he stumbles upon a way to make Frankie laugh, he realizes that maybe the baby isn’t so cranky after all. After the reading the passage, students will answer questions on the language and plot.

Topic(s): Realistic Fiction. Skill(s): Summary, Character Traits, Context Clues. Genre(s): Prose

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Marco’s new little brother was named Frankie. Frankie was a grumpy baby. Marco didn’t like it when the baby cried and yelled. Marco called the baby Cranky Frankie, but his mom didn’t like it when he did that.

Frankie cried about everything. When he wanted a bottle, he cried. When it was empty, he yelled. Poor Marco seemed to spend most of the days chasing the bottle for his brother.

On one certain day, Frankie was yelling louder than usual. “Mom,” Marco said, “Cranky Frankie wants more to drink!”

“Don’t call him that,” said his mom. “I’ll get him another drink in a minute.” She was busy washing the dishes.

“You have to wait,” said Marco to his brother. Cranky Frankie didn’t like that. He threw the empty bottle at Marco. Marco ducked. The baby laughed. Marco frowned. “Stop that!”

“I’m almost finished,” said Mom. “Give him the pacifier while he is waiting.” Marco took the pacifier and stuck it in his crying brother’s mouth. Frankie stopped crying and started sucking on it. Finally, he was quiet!

Marco sighed with relief. He went over to his building blocks and started to play. When the baby saw what he was doing, he wanted to do it too. Frankie spit out his pacifier and started to yell. “Mom!” called Marco. “Cranky Frankie is not happy again.”

“I’m coming,” said Mom. “Here is your bottle, sweet baby boy.” She smiled at Frankie and kissed the top of his head. The baby grabbed the bottle happily and started drinking. “See, he was just thirsty,” said Mom to Marco. She went back to the kitchen where her pots were boiling on the stove.

Marco did not think that Frankie was just thirsty. He knew the baby was just cranky! And Marco knew he was right because as soon as he finished the bottle, Frankie started crying again. “Mom!” he called. No reply. Ugh.

“Why do you have to be so cranky, Frankie?” asked Marco. He stuck out his tongue at his little brother and made a terrible face. To his surprise, the baby began to laugh. This time, Marco pulled on his ears and scrunched up his nose. Little Frankie laughed some more. In fact, the more terrible faces Marco made, the harder his brother would giggle. Soon Frankie was nearly falling over from laughing so hard!

Marco was laughing, too. Together, the brothers pulled silly faces at each other to make the other one giggle. When Mom came into the room, she was amazed to see them both so happy. “What have you done to Cranky Frankie?” she asked.

“Don’t call him that, Mom,” answered Marco. “All this time, I think he just wanted me to play with him. I guess he isn’t such a ‘Cranky Frankie’ after all.”

Comprehension Questions

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