CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 11 . . . . January 31, 2003
Like the two previous Franklin “Treasuries,” Franklin's Classic Treasury and Franklin's Friendship Treasury (both reviewed in CM, VII, No. 13, March 2, 2001), the present volume, which is attributed to author Paulette Bourgeois and illustrator Brenda Clark, reprints four books from the popular series, books that were originally published between 1996 and 2001 and which all have a holiday theme. As noted on the copyright page, authorship of Franklin's Valentines and Franklin's Thanksgiving is attributed to Sharon Jennings while Shelly Southern is acknowledged as assisting with the interior illustrations of three of the books, Franklin's Halloween being the exception.
In Franklin's Halloween (1996), Franklin momentarily believes there are real ghosts before discovering that it was just his teacher, Mr. Owl, playing a trick on his students. Bourgeois provides a warm conclusion to the story by having the children share their Halloween treats with Bear who had been ill. Franklin's Valentine (1998) finds Franklin upset when he discovers that on the way to school he had lost all the valentines meant for his friends. However, during the day, he learns that friendship transcends material things and that every day is “Friendship Day.” The decision of what Franklin should give to the Christmas toy drive is the focus of Franklin's Christmas Gift (1998). The toys to be donated are to be new or “carefully” used, but the one toy with which Franklin is willing to part does not meet the criterion of “gently used.” In Franklin's Thanksgiving (2001), Franklin is disappointed when he learns that his grandparents will not be there to share the family holiday. However, unknown to each other, the members of Franklin's family invite friends and neighbors over for Thanksgiving and thereby create a new family tradition.
The only mild criticism of Franklin's Holiday Treasury is the editor's choice in ordering the four stories. Instead of the holiday book quartet being arranged chronologically, the stories appear to have been sequenced in the order they were published. A further explanation for the editor's choice may be that, with Thanksgiving appearing both before and after Halloween depending upon the reader's citizenship below or above the 49th parallel, the editor opted for a more neutral sequence.
The “Treasuries” are very good value, their individual prices being less than what it would cost to purchase each volume of the four Franklin titles, even in soft cover. A wonderful gift book, Franklin's Holiday Treasury, along with its companion volumes, merits a place in home collections and school and public libraries.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and YA literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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