Franklin is a friendly turtle that kids can look up to. Franklin frequently has some problem he needs to solve and he works hard through his stories to do so. Franklin Rides a Bike is one such story. It was written by Paulette Bourgeois and illustrated by Brenda Clark. This book was published in 1997. I like this book and the entire series because it teaches kids different strategies for solving problems.
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This story starts out with a narrator telling about many of the things Franklin is good at. But, there is one thing that Franklin is not good at and that is riding a bike without his training wheels. One Spring all of Franklins friends start taking their training wheels off and riding their bikes all over the place. Franklin feels left out so he asks his mother to help him get the training wheels off of his bike. They come off but Franklin cannot ride the bike. He tries and falls and he gives up.
Franklins mother convinces him to try again and to give it his best effort. She helps him and still he feels wobbly and falls off of the bike. His mother tells him that lots of things are hard for different people. Franklin thinks about his friends. He remembers the hard time Beaver had on the monkey bars and how Badger had difficulties putting his head in the water when he was swimming.
Then, Franklin saw his friend, Porcupine on inline skates. Porcupine had lots of padding in case she fell. She told Franklin that it felt funny but it kept her from hurting herself. It gave Franklin an idea. He ran home and got padding and put it on and then tried riding his bike. It took a lot of practice but he wasnt a s afraid of falling now. Finally, he got the hang of it and rode his bike all the way to the park!
Text and Illustrations
This book has 29 pages in it. Each page has between 15 and 50 words on it. The words are narrative, told by a third person narrator that is never seen. There is also a good amount of conversation in this book as Franklin talks to his mother and to his friends. The words are not necessarily easy reader words but I would guess that a second grader should definitely be able to read this book and many first graders as well.
The illustrations are full page illustrations in most cases. Much, but not all, of the text is on the left hand page of the double page spread. These pages with text sometimes have smaller pictures on them to allow for the text. The illustrations are full color, drawings. Some parts of the pictures are outlined and some are not. Nonetheless, each picture shows good detail and gives information about the story that the words do not. For example, the pictures where Franklins friends are exploring show the many different things they can do like going to the bridge and going for ice cream.
Riding a bike is something that my 8 year old is still struggling with. While reading this book didnt get her up and out riding, it did make her realize that not everything is easy for everyone. Right now, she has no motivation to get up and ride but one day she will and that will get her to practice and come up with ideas, such as padding, that will make the job easier.
This book shows that a lot of things that kids enjoy do not always come easily. It shows how practice and encouragement from friends is helpful. It also shows that parents need to help sometimes too. But, most of all, it shows that the child has to want to do the activity for it to ultimately be successful.
This book is a great length for the audience it is intended for. It takes about 15 minutes to read the story aloud and this is just about right whether in the classroom or at home. I have read this book in a classroom of preschoolers and found that it was quite popular. I think this is because the issue in this book is something that many kids struggle with in one way or another. This book gives some great encouragement within the fun story.
I would recommend this book for preschoolers and early elementary aged children. I think that older kids will have not problem reading this book independently and will find that they feel successful for doing so. It is a fun story that also teaches children that it takes practice, patience and encouragement to succeed!
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