CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 18 . . . .May 13, 2005
Told via five pairs of facing pages, this board book story involves Franklin, who, with his sidekick Bear, has a mystery to solve. As the pair stand in the berry patch, Franklin notices that all of the blueberry bushes have been stripped of their fruit. The friends' self imposed task becomes discovering who took the berries. Bear's nose detects his mother's cooking, and his thought that "maybe my mother is baking blueberry treats!" sends the pair off to Bear's house. There, their sleuthing in the kitchen only reveals that Beaver has sent the Bear family a gift of raspberry tarts. However, the presence of raspberries does suggest that "Beaver's been at the berry patch." At the pond, Franklin then questions Beaver about the missing berries, but he claims to know nothing about them and suggests that the trio visit Snail and Rabbit who are at the clubhouse. Although Snail denies picking all the blueberries in the berry patch, Snail does inform Franklin and Bear that "I only found one blueberry on the path." The two "detectives" then follow the trail of dropped blueberries to the ice cream shop where the "who and why" of the mystery are revealed. A rereading will reveal a critical visual clue on the clubhouse double spread.
As the book's title indicates, young readers/listeners are invited to actively participate by lifting the 63 flaps that are distributed throughout the five sets of facing pages. Under some will be found text that speaks directly to the story. For example, opening a cupboard door in Bear's kitchen reveals the cupboard's contents and the message "Honey, jam and cereal, but no blueberries!" while "cutting" the pie on the stove, via lifting a flap, clarifies that "Bear's mother baked cherry pies." Other flaps also contain text, but it simply explains what is being seen as in the case of "These are water bugs." Finally, some flaps are wordless, as occurs in the pond illustration where two mouse detectives, one wearing a deerstalker hat and carrying a magnifying class, are seen standing on a waterlily pad. Lifting the flap shows that one of the mice has slipped off the lily pad into the water. These parallel detectives, who are not directly mentioned in the story's text, can be found somewhere in every illustration pairing.
Adult fingers will likely initially be needed to lift the flaps for younger "readers" whose fingers may lack the necessary dexterity. Obviously a good home purchase, Franklin's Big Search-And-Solve Flap Book also belongs in collections serving a preschool audience.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and YA literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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.