CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 7 . . . . November 26, 2004
Franklin's Nickname and Franklin and the New Teacher are both titles in the Franklin's TV Storybook series based on episodes from the popular animated Franklin television series, with the latter book’s TV “partner” being entitled Back to School with Franklin. Many parents and adults are familiar with Franklin through the original stories by author Paulette Bourgeois and illustrator Brenda Clark. They should be aware that these adapted from TV books are not products of this author/illustrator collaboration but rather retellings of television episodes. Whereas the print copy provides the child the opportunity to revisit a favourite episode at a relaxed pace and in a more interactive manner, the stories and illustrations are secondary to the original.
The storyline of Franklin's Nickname deals with a theme that is of interest to young children, a characteristic of all Franklin stories. While doing a project on sports heroes, Franklin becomes aware that most athletes have nicknames. He decides that, if he is to be an athlete, he needs a nickname. Not realizing that you acquire a nickname based on something you do, Franklin proceeds to choose his own, Flash. As the story continues, Franklin is involved in a number of unsuccessful exploits to earn his nickname.
Franklin and the New Teacher deals with another theme that is familiar to most young school-aged children: change. Adjusting to a new teacher becomes more exciting to Franklin and his friends when they discover that Ms Koala is from another part of the world. As the story continues, both the characters and the reading audience discover some interesting facts about Australia. However, young children may find some of the oral expressions, such as 'fair dinkum,' and the references to Australia as Down Under and Oz confusing. The story concludes with Franklin enjoying his new teacher but happy knowing that Mr. Owl, like an Australian boomerang, will be coming back.
Unlike the rich illustrations by Brenda Clark, the pictures in the TV storybooks are at best copies of the still frames of the animated cartoon. The details, the individual characterization and the different settings that are richly portrayed in the original books are missing and replaced by unexciting cartoon drawings. Both books can be enjoyed without having viewed their related TV episodes.
Young children will enjoy the opportunity to stop and talk about the stories and the exploits of one of their favourite storybook characters, Franklin. While reading these TV stories to their children, parents may want to share the original Franklin books as well and perhaps even discuss similarities and differences between the two.
Recommended with Reservations.
Janice Foster is a Middle Years teacher in Pembina Trails School Division in Winnipeg, MB.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.