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Paulette Bourgeois worked as an occupational therapist and a print and television journalist before she began writing for children. When Franklin in the Dark, was released in 1986, it became a bestseller—and the Franklin phenomenon was born. Paulette has gone on to write over 30 Franklin stories illustrated by Brenda Clark that have been published around the world. Although Paulette is best known for the Franklin books, she has also written other children’s titles, including a number of non-fiction books and the award-winning picture book Oma’s Quilt. Paulette lives in Toronto, Ontario. After graduating from the illustration program at Sheridan College, Brenda Clark worked as a freelance illustrator for children’s magazines and books. When she was asked to illustrate Franklin in the Dark, Brenda researched turtles and other animals in order to give Franklin and his friends as many authentic details as possible. In addition to over thirty Franklin collaborations with Paulette Bourgeois, the duo created another picture-book classic, Big Sarah’s Little Boots. Brenda Clark is also the illustrator of Sadie and the Snowman and the award-winning Little Fingerling. Brenda lives in Port Hope, Ontario.
Franklin sometimes had colds and tummy aches, and every now and then he got cuts and bruises. He went to the doctor's for regular checkups, and once the doctor came to Franklin's house. But, until now, Franklin had never been to the hospital.
Franklin and his friends were playing soccer. The ball was kicked to Franklin, and it hit him hard in the chest.
"Ooof!" he groaned. But he kept on playing.
That night at bathtime Franklin said, "Ouch!" when he dried his tummy.
His mother took a closer look.
"Hmmm," she said. "We'll go to the doctor first thing tomorrow."
With gentle fingers, Dr. Bear poked and prodded Franklin's shell. She discovered a small crack.
"It isn't serious, Franklin," she said. "But I have to put a pin in your shell to help it grow properly. I'll schedule an operation for you tomorrow morning at the hospital."
"Will it hurt?" asked Franklin.
"We'll give you sleep medicine before the operation, so you won't feel a thing," replied Dr. Bear. "When you wake up, you'll be a little sore. But we'll keep you in the hospital overnight to make sure that you're okay."
Dr. Bear explained that operations can only be done when a patient has an empty stomach. She told Franklin not to eat or drink after bedtime that night.
Franklin didn't mind. His tummy was too busy flip-flopping for him to think about eating.
After school, Franklin's friends came to visit.
Franklin showed them the book about hospitals that Dr. Bear had given him. Fox pointed to a picture and asked why everyone was wearing a mask.
"Masks keep germs out of the operating room," explained Franklin.
"Are you scared?" asked Beaver.
"Of course he's not scared," replied Bear. "Franklin's very brave."
Franklin didn't say anything.
It was early when Franklin and his parents left for the hospital. With his blue blanket and Sam clutched in his arms, Franklin said goodbye to his room.
Franklin's mother gave him a hug. "You'll be home tomorrow," she reminded him.
"I know," Franklin said softly.
"You're a very brave little turtle," said his father.
At the hospital, Franklin was given a bracelet with his name on it. Then an attendant pushed him down a long hallway in a wheelchair.
Franklin stared at all the strange equipment on carts and trolleys, and he wrinkled his nose at the unfamiliar smells. As they went around corners and through doors, Franklin kept checking to make sure that his parents were keeping up.
At last, they reached Franklin's room.
A nurse gave Franklin a special gown to wear. She took his temperature and his blood pressure and listened to his heart. Next she rubbed some cream on his hand.
"This will numb your hand," she told him. "Then it won't hurt when the doctor puts in the needle for your sleep medicine."
"Okay," said Franklin in a small voice.
"You're a very brave patient," said the nurse.
Soon the attendant came back to take Franklin to another room. Dr. Bear was waiting for him.
"We're going to take some X-rays," she said. "I need to know exactly where to put the pin."
"I don't want X-rays," whispered Franklin.
"X-rays don't hurt," explained Dr. Bear. "The machine only takes pictures of what's inside you."
"I know," said Franklin.
He started to cry.
Dr. Bear sat down beside Franklin.
"Please tell me what's wrong," she said.
Franklin sniffled. "Everybody thinks I'm brave, but I've just been pretending. X-rays will show that inside I'm scared."
"Oh Franklin!" exclaimed Dr. Bear. "An X-ray doesn't show feelings. It only shows shell and bones."
"You mean no one will know I'm afraid?" Franklin asked.
"No one," replied Dr. Bear. "But just because you're afraid doesn't mean you aren't brave. Being brave means doing what you have to do, no matter how scared you feel."
Excerpted from Franklin Goes to the Hospital ? Franklin and the Tooth Fairy ? Finders Keepers for Franklin by Paulette Bourgeois, Brenda Clark. Copyright © 2000 Contextx Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Kids Can Press.
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