We’ve been reading a few Franklin books over here with Aoife. Right now on her shelf, we have Franklin’s New Friend and Franklin Rides a Bike. The age range is a bit beyond 2 years old, with Amazon putting them solidly in the 3-8 year old camp. However, Aoife loves pointing out various details in the illustrations and talking about the different animals. The words and phrases in the book are easy enough to modify to your child’s own level, and I was actually surprised to see that Aoife was perfectly willing to sit through the entirety of a somewhat longer picture book (even two times … and three times before bed).
If you didn’t already know, Franklin is a young turtle who can do lots of things but learns even more as he goes through all the milestones of childhood. The Canadian series (that was something I learned when researching) has been adapted into two different TV series, one of which I’ve seen and with which I have been pretty satisfied.
The books handle those childhood milestones in a way that is balanced and reasonable, which means that kids can relate to them and even see proper behaviors modeled for them. Franklin makes mistakes, and he usually has to answer for them. Kids can relate to both the mistakes and the ways that Franklin overcomes them.
But here’s the real point of these thoughts. Every other animal in the Franklin universe simply goes by their animal name: Bear, Moose, Beaver, Fox. Why is Franklin the only character who has an actual name? What do they do when there is more than one of that animal? Bear 1 and Bear 2? Mr. Bear and Mrs. Bear?
I can suspend belief when it comes to having predators and prey animals in the same classroom, sharing Tinkertoys and what-not. But why isn’t Franklin just called “Turtle”?
Is there another named character somewhere in the series that I’ve missed? Is this ever explained? Am I crazy for thinking about this every time I read to Aoife?