CM . . .
. Volume IX Number 4. . . . October 18, 2002
Franklin's Canoe Trip, the latest in the spinoff Franklin T.V. storybook series, begins with Franklin about to embark on a summer adventure. Together with his friend Bear and their fathers, Franklin sets out to explore Spruce Lake, Gull Lake and Sandy Inlet by canoe. Following a long car ride, Franklin and Bear discover how not to get into a canoe and just how tiring it is to paddle. Their fathers teach them how to portage the canoe overland, and Franklin and Bear begin to wonder if a speedy motorboat might be a better way to travel. Upon reaching Sandy Inlet, the travellers realize that the once deserted beach is now full of people, tents, and boats. Disappointed, Franklin and Bear set off down the beach and discover a small, quiet cove. With renewed energy, they convince their fathers that they are up to the task of paddling for another half hour. When they encounter a sandbar, they realize the benefits of a canoe and are thrilled to be able to set up camp and draw a map of the area just like "real"explorers. The story ends with a very tired but satisfied Franklin enjoying a meal outdoors and the chance to sleep under the stars.
Franklin's Canoe Trip is a fun summer read for young children and their families. The story is very Canadian in theme as it celebrates popular summer activities such as canoeing, camping, fishing and exploring. The book contains an impressive vocabulary for young readers. Some of the words that children are introduced to in simple terms include: explore, canoe, portage, shore, inlet, lagoon, sandbar and loons. Throughout the story, safety is stressed with the characters always wearing life jackets and with reminders of how to get into a canoe and always to follow Dad's lead.
While the illustrations contain the popular characters and convey personality and emotion well, it should be noted that they are not of the same quality as the original paintings by Brenda Clark. Because they are from an animated children's program, they tend to be more "Disney-like" and are flat rather than three-dimensional. The illustrations do depict all the equipment required for a canoe trip and camping as well as the need for cooperation and hard work which, in turn, may enhance discussion by readers/parents.
In its soft cover form, Franklin's Canoe Trip is an affordable ($4.95) and entertaining read for fans of the famous turtle. Children will enjoy Franklin's latest summer adventure, and adults will appreciate the emphasis on teamwork and the excitement ofexploring the great outdoors.
Lisa Sykes has worked as an early-years teacher and teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB, and is currently enjoying her time at home with her two young children.
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