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4.5 4
by Frank Cottrell Boyce, Steven Lenton

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The perfect crime - it's a work of art, in Frank Cottrell Boyce's ingenious story, Framed.

Dylan is the only boy living in the tiny Welsh town of Manod. His parents run the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel garage - and when he's not trying to persuade his sisters to play football, Dylan is in charge of the petrol log. And that means he gets to keep track of


The perfect crime - it's a work of art, in Frank Cottrell Boyce's ingenious story, Framed.

Dylan is the only boy living in the tiny Welsh town of Manod. His parents run the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel garage - and when he's not trying to persuade his sisters to play football, Dylan is in charge of the petrol log. And that means he gets to keep track of everyone coming in and out of Manod - what car they drive, what they're called, even their favourite flavour of crisps. But when a mysterious convoy of lorries trundles up the misty mountainside towards an old, disused mine, even Dylan is confounded. Who are these people - and what have they got to hide?

Includes bonus material and discussion questions from Frank Cottrell Boyce, and illustrations by Steven Lenton.

A story inspired by a press cutting describing how, during World War II, the treasured contents of London's National Gallery were stored in Welsh slate mines. Once a month, a morale-boosting masterpiece would be unveiled in the village and then returned to London for viewing. This is a funny and touching exploration of how Art - its beauty and its value - touches the life of one little boy and his big family in a very small town.

Editorial Reviews

Full of jokes and touching moments
Publishers Weekly
British actor Hughes (with his spot-on Welsh accent) nails his reading of Boyce's (Millions) latest, serving up humor, quirkiness and intrigue at every turn. The exploits of nine-year-old Dylan Hughes's family, who run the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel gas station/copier shop/coffee house in the tiny gray town of Madon, Wales, are the stuff of belly laughs handled expertly in Hughes's deadpan tone and interpretation of Boyce's kid-friendly dialogue and colloquialisms. Oddball locals, including Daft Tom, a grown man obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, provide some hilarious exchanges for narrator Dylan. But the real action takes off when Dylan's dad flees a tax inquiry and "team Hughes" is left to rescue the family business. At the same time, flooding in London has forced the National Gallery to move many of its masterpieces to an abandoned quarry near the Snowdonia Oasis. Dylan's younger sister, Minnie, an aspiring criminal mastermind, comes up with a heist plan that just may save the day for everyone. This skillfully drawn kooky family, the story's high-octane premise and Hughes's knockout take on the tale will quickly have listeners hooked. Ages 8-14. (Aug.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Janice DeLong
Being the only boy in elementary school and the oldest boy in the family helps Dylan Hughes develop unique survival qualities. Being both organized and creative, Dylan attempts to keep alive his passion for soccer and anything propelled by an engine, while living in a female-dominated society. When Daft Tom, a maniacal fan of the Ninja Turtles, attempts to rob the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel, the only source of livelihood for the Hughes family, he subsequently becomes Bad Tom, and life for Dylan becomes even more complex. However, as Tom is allowed to redeem himself and becomes Nice Tom, he joins Dylan in hair-raising adventures involving baby chickens, stolen paintings, and wild business ventures, all culminating in a missing and rediscovered Mini Cooper and a touch of romance for the village school teacher. Told in first person by Dylan, this fast paced novel will captivate all readers, even the reluctant ones, while demonstrating the power of art on individuals who least expect it. Humor, family unity, outlandish solutions to unique problems all unfold on a mountainside in Wales, resulting in a winner of a novel. Readers first introduced to Boyce's talent in the rollicking film version of his Young Adult novel, Millions, will become confirmed fans in this, his newest creation.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-Boyce's second novel is written with the same charm and deadpan humor as Millions (HarperCollins, 2004). Dylan Hughes is the only boy living in Manod, an uneventful Welsh town of drizzling grayness that he thinks is full of Hidden Beauty. His best buddies are two agoraphobic chickens named Michelangelo and Donatello after the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. His family runs the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel garage. When the business falters, his father takes off, and Dylan, Mam, his older sister, Marie, and his aspiring criminal genius younger sister, Minnie, try to make Oasis more profitable so that he will return. Flooding in London causes the National Gallery to evacuate its paintings to the safety of Manod's mine. (An actual evacuation to the Manod slate quarry occurred during World War II.) Lester, the art expert in charge, takes a shine to Dylan as an art connoisseur on hearing the chickens' names. When he agrees to put one masterpiece at a time on view, the villagers' lives are changed. Minnie concocts a hilarious scheme to nick Van Gogh's Sunflowers, replacing it with a paint-by-number affair. All gets sorted out and Dad comes home. The colorful characters steal the show-even the secondary players are cleverly drawn. But it is Dylan's narrative voice, with its unintended humor, appealing na vet , and expression of absolute belief in his dad that is truly a masterpiece.-Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
When the entire contents of the National Gallery are brought to the dead-end town of Manod, Wales, for safekeeping in a hollowed-out slate quarry, life changes forever for the Hughes family. Business at the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel has been drying up as more and more people move out of town, leaving the family without any viable source of income and narrator Dylan without a single boy to play soccer with. When the chief caretaker of the artworks mistakes Dylan's fondness for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles for an appreciation of Renaissance artists, a line of communication opens up between Manod and the quarry that gently transforms both, as the response of the citizens of Manod to the art brings life back to the nearly moribund town, and humanity to the Gallery personnel. While the art does its quiet work, however, Dylan's little sister Minnie, a criminal genius in the making, determines that the only way to rescue the Snowdonia Oasis is to pull off a heist, threatening everything. Boyce's signature daffiness plays hilarity and pathos off each other with not one wrong note. (Fiction. 10-14)
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This novel’s wry, quirky sweetness [will connect] with readers on a number of points.”
ALA Booklist
“Readers will be charmed.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (starred review)
“This novel’s wry, quirky sweetness [will connect] with readers on a number of points.”
Horn Book Magazine
“Endearingly ingenuous.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“This novel’s wry, quirky sweetness [will connect] with readers on a number of points.”
The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books
“This novel’s wry, quirky sweetness [will connect] with readers on a number of points.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"This novel’s wry, quirky sweetness [will connect] with readers on a number of points."
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review)
“This novel’s wry, quirky sweetness [will connect] with readers on a number of points.”

Product Details

Pan Macmillan
Publication date:
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
File size:
428 KB
Age Range:
9 - 11 Years

Read an Excerpt


By Frank Cottrell Boyce

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006

Frank Cottrell Boyce

All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060734027

Chapter One

You've probably never heard of Vincenzo Perugia.

But we know all about him. He was a famous art thief and we used to be in the same line of work. My sister Minnie even had a picture of him on her bedroom wall. She reckons that when Vincenzo stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre museum in Paris on August 21, 1911, that was the most immensely perfect crime ever. The Mona Lisa was the world's most famous painting, but Vincenzo did such a neat job no one even noticed it was missing for two days. Then they did notice, and everything went mental. Everyone went to the Louvre to look at the empty space where the painting had been. They lined up to look at an empty space! Even Vincenzo Perugia lined up. And when they got to the front of the line, they all looked at that empty space and thought about what used to be there. I can understand that. Sometimes something vanishes, and afterward you can't stop looking at the place where it used to be.

And all this time Vincenzo had it in his little room--the Mona Lisa was in a trunk next to the bed. Sometimes he took the painting out and played it funny songs on his mandolin. He didn't try to sell it. He didn't steal any other paintings. He didn't want to be famous or rich. He just wanted the Mona Lisa. And that's where he went right. That's why it was the perfect crime.Because he didn't want anything else. And that's probably where we went wrong. We wanted something.

Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel, Manod

February 11

Cars today:

Blue Ford Fiesta--Ms. Stannard (Twix)

Scania 118 Low Loader--Wrexham Recovery

Weather: Rain

Note: Oil is different from antifreeze

My dad, right--ask anyone this, they'll all say the same--my dad can fix anything. Toyota. Hyundai. Ford. Even Nice Tom's mam's diddy Daihatsu Copen (top speed 106 mph), which is about the size of a marshmallow so you need tweezers to fix it.

And it's not just cars.

Like the time when we were at Prestatyn and Minnie wanted a swim but I wouldn't get in the water because it was too cold. She kept saying, "Come in. It's fine once you're in." And I kept saying, "No."

Dad got up, went to the trailer and came back with a kettle of boiling water. He poured the water in the sea and said, "Dylan, come and test it. Tell me if it's all right or does it need a bit more?"

I said, "No, that's fine now, thanks, Da."

"Sure now?"

"Sure now."

"Not too hot then?"

"No, just right."

"Give me a shout. If it gets cold again, I can always boil up some more."

Then Minnie splashed me and I splashed her and we stayed in the water till the sun went down.

He fixed the sea for us. Now that is a thing to be admired.

My big sister, Marie, never came in the water even after Dad fixed it. She said, "Have you any idea what sea water can do to your hair?" And later on when we were playing Monopoly in the trailer, she said, "Did you really think that one kettle of water could warm up the entire Irish Sea?"

I said, "Not the whole sea, obviously. Just the bit we were swimming in."

"Yeah, like that would really work," said Minnie. "Let me explain the physics . . ."

"Minnie," said Mam, "Euston Road. Three houses. Two hundred and seventy pounds, please." Typical of Mam, by the way, cleverly changing the subject like that.

Obviously I know now that the kettle didn't warm up the sea, but that's not the point. I got into the water, that's the point. Dad looked at that situation and he thought, I can't do anything about the physics, but I can do something about Dylan. So he did.

He's keen for us all to learn how to fix things too. That's how I came to be helping him with the oil change on Ms. Stannard's blue Fiesta (top speed 110 mph). I don't know how I came to make the mix-up about the oil.

Dad said it would probably be best if I didn't go near the workshop again. Or near a car again, really. He was quite calm about it. He said it was the kind of thing that could happen to anyone. Anyone who didn't know the difference between motor oil and antifreeze, that is.

After that, Mam said I could take over the petrol log. That's the massive red book next to the till where we write down all the petrol sales so we can track supply and demand. The book is red, with gold patterns on the front. It looks like a Bible. Mam got it in a trunk sale (Trunk Crazy at the Dynamo Blaenau Soccer Club ground) for fifty pence. It's got over a thousand pages. We only use about a page a week, so it should last us twenty years. Bargain!

No disrespect to Mam, obviously, but she was probably too busy with the new baby to make the most of that job. She just wrote stuff like, "10:20 a.m.--four gallons unleaded." Whereas I put down all the detail--the make, the year, name of the driver, anything. I'd stay out on the asphalt forecourt in front of the shop from after school till teatime. Sometimes Nice Tom would come and sit with me, and if he said something like, "Mr. Morgan's back left tire is baldy," I'd put that down too. When Dad saw it, he said, "Dylan, you have made a fifty-pence petrol log into a database. That is something to be admired."

A database is very useful. For instance, when Dad read, "Mr. Morgan: back left tire is baldy," he sourced a new tire and offered it to Mr. Morgan. So a job that would . . .


Excerpted from Framed
by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Copyright © 2006 by Frank Cottrell Boyce.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Frank Cottrell Boyce is the award-winning author of Millions, Framed, Cosmic, The Astounding Broccoli Boy and the new Chitty Chitty Bang Bang novels. He is also a successful writer of film scripts and, along with Danny Boyle, devised the Opening Ceremony for the London 2012 Olympics. He lives in Merseyside with his family.

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Framed 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Johnny Johnson January 11, 2010 Book Review The fictional novel Framed, by Frank Cottrell Boyce, is set in England during present time. The story begins when Dylan's family got into financial trouble. The petrol company was threatening to stop selling to them because they are failing at selling the gas. One-day Dylan's dad comes home and tells the family about the bad news. A customer walked inside and asked for many things they didn't have in stock. That's when it hit them, They should open a store that carries the many needs of the families around Monod and might get more customers and make more money. When they got home they got the same customer, Lester, asking if they can open the gate that leads to the huge mountain that over looks Monod. Once they opened it, twenty-one 2006 seven series black BMWs drove up the steep rocky mountain.. Dylan and his father went up the mountain to see what was going on. Once they saw Lester they walked over and asked what was happening on the mountain that caused all this drama. He then showed them the lair that his architect had built days before. It was filled with many paintings, even some by Van Gogh. Because the family was in financial problems, the kids and Tom made a plan of stealing a very famous painting called "Flowers." Once the kids successfully stole the painting they hid it behind a painting of Mrs. .Shellwood . The next day the family was having another yard sale to see if they could gain more money. Mrs. Shellwood came into the shop asking for the painting that she gave Dylan's family, but she did not know that "Flowers" was in the back of the same painting......... Here are some positive thing about the book Framed . The setting was in Monod, England and the author gave a lot of great information about England and its surroundings. Also the author did a great job of describing things in the book that put visuals in your head. An example of this is on page 57 "The chocolate cake I ready to be frosted and enjoyed by Lester." The main characters was interesting because he provided cliffhangers that made me want to keep reading on to find out what will happen next in the novel. A few negative things in this book are that the dialogue was difficult to understand and the character Lester was mean, I didn't like him when he got picky. Also the character Max was not interesting, all he did was cry and scream, this interrupted my focus on the novel. Even through there are negative things about the book, overall it was a great book to read. The writing style of the author was first person point of view. On page 15 it said, "when I first started at Monod Elementary School there where just enough kids to play five-a-side." Franks Boyse used long formal words like on page 89 "you got to speculate to accumulate." The author used sensory details like on page 110, "I looked in the coffee cavalcade and saw the brown mixture that made my sensors go wild for sweet taste coffee." I would recommend this book to others. If you would like to learn about slate mountains in England, about cars their speed and parts and if you like mysteries and the end of a chapter, then this book is for you. Some other novels I think are just about the same a this one are Chasing Vermere by Blue Balliett, Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Wright Three by Blue Balliett, I recommend all three of these books and also outsiders by S.E Hinton.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What happens to a grey, Welsh town with a depressed economy and dwindling population when world-famous art arrives there for storage in an old mine? Find out in this wonderful tale of what it means to be part of a family and a community. Told through the voice of Dylan Hughes, the only boy left in the town of Manod, Framed will introduce you to a town full of eccentric characters who are inspired by the masterpieces they see to create great changes in themselves and in Manod. It's a heart-warming, funny tale that's great to read aloud.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story was so refreshing to read. Pure enjoyment. I cannot imagine how exciting it would be to read this as an 8 or 9 year old. Being 33 I was taken back to that age where ANYTHING can happen. Excellent, fast read for anyone of any age! Great book to read to your children that can't yet read.