Franklin's School Play.
Paulette Bourgeois. Illustrated by Brenda Clark.
Review by Naomi Gerrard.
Franklin could count forwards and backwards. He could remember his phone number, his address and the names of six different shapes. But sometimes Franklin was forgetful.
Every child's favourite turtle, Franklin, discovers he has stage fright when his class is preparing to present the annual school play and he is chosen to play one of the lead roles. Despite the support of his classmates and family, all of whom are behind the project all the way, Franklin is afraid. He tries to hide his fear, but his insecurities become obvious when he seems to lose his voice the day before the show. Mr. Owl, Franklin's teacher, identifies the source of the problem and, with class encouragement and cooperation, Franklin's stage fright is understood and overcome.
This delightful children's book is well-organized, using descriptive, mature language that is still age-appropriate for the early reader. The students represented in Franklin's classroom are as colourful and diverse as in many early elementary classroom settings; they range from a fox to a brown bear to a rabbit, a squirrel, racoon, mouse, badger, beaver, goose, and, of course, Franklin, a turtle.
The classroom dynamics as described in the book are encouraging to a shy student, such as Franklin, or any potential Franklins reading the book. The classroom buzzes with activities as the various animals practice their parts for the play, encouraging each other and challenging everyone to become involved.
The illustrations are colourful and flow nicely throughout the book, some in close up, some at longer ranges, and some very busily showing classroom activities. The story and illustrations in Franklin's School Play combine delightfully to stimulate the imagination of the young child.
Naomi Gerrard has been fascinated with children's literature for years and is a reviewer for the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon award.
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Copyright © 1997 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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