CM . . .
. Volume IX
Number 5 . . . . November 1, 2002
As a child, one of my favourite Christmas gifts was a children’s annual sent to me by an aunt in England. Filled with stories and activities, it consumed many hours of my time. Perhaps The Franklin Annual will play the same role in the lives of some of today’s young children.
If nothing else, The Franklin Annual certainly provides good dollar value for those parents who regularly purchase titles from the “Franklin TV Storybook Series” since The Franklin Annual contains four previously published books from the series: Franklin’s Bicycle Helmet; Franklin Forgets; Franklin Helps Out; and Franklin and the Hero. Instead of having to pay a total of almost $20.00 for the separate softcover editions or $44.00 for the hardcover versions, parents can get all four books in one hardcover title for just under $17.00. While the original books were each 32 pages long, their contents have been reformatted so that their individual lengths are now reduced to 13-15 pages. Following each full colour Franklin storybook are three or four activities which relate to the story which has just been read. For example, the three activities connected to Franklin Helps Out consist of a “Search and Find” (locate the ladybugs in the double page spread), a “Word Search” (locate words related to the story’s nature hike), and a “Maze” (help Franklin find his way back to Snail). Other post-story activities include connect-the-dots, spot the differences, what’s wrong with this picture, and a word scramble. As well, there are two “Colouring Fun” pages, but, in fact, all of the activity pages can be used like a colouring book for the activity sections are rendered in just black and white. Some of the activities will be challenging to preschoolers who, for instance, have not mastered the alphabet or number sequence, but the volume’s final page provides an answer key to the various activities.
Because of the consumable nature of The Franklin Annual, it likely does not have a place in an institutional library. However, adults should definitely consider it as a gift purchase for the young children in their lives.
Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children’s and adolescent literature in the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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