CM . . .
. Volume XII Number 8 . . . . December 9, 2005
Franklin's Pond Phantom and Franklin and the Tin Flute are part of a learn-to-read series by Kids Can Press and feature the popular turtle. The two books, labeled as Level 2, are geared for 'kids who can read with help.'
In Franklin's Pond Phantom, Franklin, having learned that there is a phantom in Woodland Pond, is determined to see it. He waits a long time and finally falls asleep. Upon waking, he sees something tall and white moving across the water, and he is sure he has seen the phantom. But how can he convince his friends that what he saw was real?
In Franklin and the Tin Flute, Franklin is only able to make a horrible noise on his old tin flute. He trades the flute for Rabbit's green marble. In turn, Rabbit trades it to Bear for a pail and shovel, and Bear trades it to Goose for a sailboat and Goose trades it to Fox and so on. But when Franklin learns that the tin flute belonged to his grandfather, he knows he has to get it back.
While adults will no doubt mourn the loss of Brenda Clark's wonderful illustrations, children will enjoy these simple stories with their recognizable characters. Some of the vocabulary seems questionable for the target of beginner readers, especially the phantom title and the other "ph" words included in that title, as that seems a difficult sound to introduce to this level. However, the stories are simple and repetitive with the old familiar sense of harmony and resolution that characterized the original Franklin titles. The double spread or multiple illustrations on each page should keep readers not quite ready to leave picture books behind happy.
While these books do not necessarily shine above the rest of the learning to read books, they do have their place among them.
Liz Greenaway is a former bookseller and publisher who now resides in Edmonton, AB.
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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.