________________CM . . . . Volume V Number 1 . . . . September 4, 1998

cover I Miss Franklin P. Shuckles.

Ulana Snihura. Illustrated by Leanne Franson.
Willowdale, ON: Annick, 1998.
32 pp, board, $15.95 (library binding), $5.95 (perfect binding).
ISBN 1-55037-517-2 (library binding)
ISBN 1-55037-516-4 (perfect binding).

Subject Headings:
Friendship-Juvenile fiction.
Remorse-Juvenile fiction.
Schools-Juvenile fiction.

Grades preschool - 2 / Ages 5 - 7.
Review by Shannon Nesdoly.

*** /4


Franklin P. Shuckles always came over and asked to play. There was no one else around. So I did.

I always asked him if he could tell me stories. They were always great. So he did.

But now he sits next to me in school all day long. At school everyone makes fun of his skinny legs and funny glasses. I can't be friends with him anymore. Everyone will laugh at me too. Maybe if I sneeze very loud he'll move. So I did. But he didn't.

image Molly Pepper tries a variety of devious tactics to end her friendship with Franklin P. Shuckles. She is finally successful with a nasty note: "Molly Pepper doesn't like you!" So now Franklin P. Shuckles doesn't sit by her in school anymore, he doesn't share his lunch, he doesn't carry her backpack, and he tells his stories to the boy across the street. And Molly Pepper is really sad because she misses "his skinny legs, his funny glasses, his great stories." And, most of all, she misses his friendship. But Franklin P. Shuckles is as forgiving as he is nerdy, and the two friends are soon reunited thanks to another note from Molly.

      Quick watercolour sketches capture Franklin's painful attempts at catching a baseball and his humiliation at being picked last for the team. The only time the black horn-rimmed glasses aren't perched on his nose is when he's telling stories, and even then the glasses are obvious in the foreground. But when Franklin weaves his tales, he is surrounded by magical beasts. Molly's elephant backpack accompanies her like Franklin's imaginary elephant comforts him. Molly's cat appears to miss Franklin as much as Molly does. Ladybugs, caterpillars and bugs crawl throughout the pages, reflecting Molly's claim that Franklin "bugs" her. In the end, the insects that Molly and Franklin collect are set free by the two friends.

      I Miss Franklin P. Shuckles is a tale of peer pressure, abandonment and reconciliation. Although the story is overly simplistic, it evokes strong feelings both of sadness and happiness. The voice of Molly Pepper is childlike, and her attempts to end -and renew- the friendship are humorous and demonstrate author Ulana Snihura's insights into the minds of young children.


Shannon Nesdoly is an Education student at the University of Manitoba and a mother of two.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364