Pros: Soft for child to hold and a great teaching tool.
Cons: Buttons may be hard for tiny fingers to press at times;
As the show says, 'Franklin can count by twos
and tie his shoes'. Well with this toy it is obvious
he can certainly do well with numbers, as well as his
ABC's, since he teaches them so well. Franklin the Tur-
tle Phonics Pal is a great tool to help enhance your
child's phonics and recognition skills. It is also ve-
ry soft for your child to hold and yes, maybe even go
to bed with--it is THAT soft. Another good thing about
its softness is that it is a safe toy. Unlike some
electronic toys, if your child dropped Franklin on his
or herself, it would not hurt them. It wouldn't even
hurt good ol' Franklin!
Press the on/off button to turn it on and Frank-
lin happily greets your child with, 'Hello, my name is
Franklin! I'm glad you're my friend!' and a 'roses are
red, violets are blue' poem. From there your child has
five different games to choose from, sometimes inter-
twining singing songs and learning parts of the body
as well as phonics. Here are the buttons to press and
how the games are played, with the name of the button
in capital letters:
1. GAME: Franklin loves to play 'Franklin Says' when
you press this button. Played like 'Simon Says', Franklin
will ask you to press a number, letter, or body part but,
as Franklin clearly instructs at the start, only when he
or she hear the words, 'Franklin Says'. Your child got it
wrong? No problem, Franklin tells your child what they
DID press, and happily encourages them to try again and
will give a different request. Pressed a button and
forgot the 'Franklin Says' part? Franklin pollitely re-
minds your child that he did not say it and moves on.
2. FIRST THEN: Franklin will ask your child to FIRST
press a letter or number and THEN another letter or num-
ber. For example, your child may be asked to FIRST press
the number '4' THEN the number '7'. Franklin emphatically
praises your child when right, and when incorrect, he
will tell your child what he or she pressed and gives
them another try at the same request. If after three
tries they do not get the request right, they are en-
couraged to 'try again' at his next request.
3. TEACH: Your child presses a letter and Franklin pro-
ceeds to tell them the letter AND the sound that it makes.
Press a number or body part and Franklin simply tells
your child what it is they pressed. Occaisionally he will
also tell your child, 'That tickles!' when pressing a
body part or let them know that "This is so much fun!'
when they are pressing letters and numbers. He may even
share a laugh with your child!
4. QUIZ: Franklin may ask your child to find a certain
letter or number. If they find it, Franklin emphatically
praises them with 'That's right!', 'Hooray!' or 'Good
job!' (He says these in the 'First Then' game also).
If incorrect, he once again will say what was pressed
and repeat the request. Three tries and still incorrect?
That's OK. Franklin again encourages your child to keep
trying and goes on to another request.
He also in this game will ask your child some-
thing like, 'What comes after the letter 'D'?' or 'What
comes before the number '4'? They are greeted with the
same praise when correct, of course. But let's say, us-
ing the letter that comes after 'D' request, that your
child incorrectly presses the letter 'R'. Franklin not
only tells your child what they pressed, but would say
that the letter 'R' comes after the letter 'Q' and ask
again. The same thing as above happens when your child
is incorrect after three tries.
5. SONG: If after pressing this button Franklin asks
to press a number button, he will sing a song including
that number in it! ('THREE little turtles jumping on the
bed...'). The song 'If You're Happy and You Know It' in-
volves Franklin asking your child to touch his hand, knee,
elbow, shoulder, or arm. Pressed the wrong one? Again, he
tells what was pressed and keeps on singing! And Franklin
REALLY loves it when your child sings the 'ABC Song' with
him! The way he enthusiastically asks children to join in,
my preschoolers are always more than happy to sing along
Pressing the buttons, which can be found on the
front of Franklin's purple shirt, can be hard at times
for some tiny fingers on this toy. (The body part buttons
are found on the appropriate body part and outlined in a
stitched circle). Like I said, this toy is VERY soft so
occaisionally your young one may feel like they have to
push in a little harder to actually feel the button they
want because the button is actually underneath the mater-
ial, represented by different colored oval shapes on the
shirt. But I have found with my preschoolers that they do
pretty well with this part and if it becomes difficult
I encourage them to lay the toy down on a table or ag-
ainst anything hard so as to give them some leverage and
make pressing the buttons easier. As with some electronic
toys, this one can sound muffled just enough that telling
the difference between letters that sound alike apart
can be rather hard to do, and you may need to listen very
closely. The same with some words, as well. On ours at
least, it's hard to make out what the ending is when he
does his 'Roses are red, violets are blue' poem. (We make
everything else out very well otherwise, though).
This toy could also use a volume button. Over-
all, it isn't LOUD, but just for those times when the
room is quiet enough that when Franklin is turned on he
just SOUNDS a little louder than normal and may just dis-
rupt the surroundings (baby sleeping nearby, perhaps), it
would nicer to have a volume button to turn the down the
sound just a little.
Franklin the Turtle Phonics Pal is manufactured
by Tiger Electronics and requires three X "AA" or "LR6"
batteries which can be installed by undoing the velcro
on the right side of Franklin's shell and pulling out the
white box (where the sound comes from) inside and unscrew-
ing the side without any words written on it with a phill-
ipshead screwdriver. (Be careful though when pulling out
the white box as it is attached by a cord).
My director bought this toy for our school and
though it is not known where she bought it, I have done
a little searching and have found that you can buy it
at KB Toys for $24.99 with the original price at $39.99.
Other Tiger Electronics toys I found out about were the
Franklin the Turtle 1-2-3 Tri-Language Learner which
was for $9.99, Franklin Goes To School Game for $6.99,
and most impressive, (I thought, anyway), the Franklin the
Turtle ABC Phonics Game with upper and lower case letters,
questions, and fun animation illustrating words on a
screen. (I just might get this one for the children in
my classroom)! You can check these toys out at KBToys.com.
I used 'Franklin' as a keyword to search, and these toys
were brought up pretty fast with details about each toy.
I am glad my children have (and LOVE) Frank-
lin the Turtle Phonics Pal. They are 3-4 years old and do
very well with it but those who are older 4's to about 6
years old would fair better independently.