Similar in topic (if not in comic spirit) to Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss's recent Diary of a Fly, this oddball memoir shares a fly's philosophies. Franklin the fly first appears against a grandly mixed-up Manhattan backdrop, with landmarks like the Flatiron, Empire State and Chrysler buildings rearranged in a dense jumble. Franklin bemoans the threats in an urban bug's life, from getting swatted or stepped on to caught in flypaper ("My Uncle Warren lost almost his entire family last summer"). He muses that he prefers being a fly to being a "delicious" animal like a pig or chicken, then conjures an image of a sedate butcher with a bloody apron and knife: "Suddenly,... Slice!... you become somebody else's meal!" Rather than linger on such disturbing thoughts, the easily distracted Franklin buzzes on to other ideas. He expounds on art, loneliness and flypaper again before the book's only real action sequence, where he saves a butterfly from becoming trapped in a net. Blechman, a New Yorkercover artist, expertly cartoons his chatty hero's world in a wavery, non-continuous line with daubs of diluted watercolor. His dotty hand-lettering, reminiscent of fly specks, complements the ethereal illustrations. Yet the flighty narrative leaves readers not with a story but with insubstantial observations and loose ends. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Children's Literature - Ken MarantzFranklin, a philosophical fly, contemplates the hazards of his life in the city. He also enjoys getting out into the country to fly around, making "circles and patterns," but he admits to being lonely at times. One day, in the country, he sees a butterfly about to be caught in a net. Distracting the butterfly catcher, Franklin forces him to drop the net so the butterfly flies free. The butterfly is grateful, and Franklin has found a friend. Somehow, so have we. Gently tinted line drawings seem the right visualizations to tell this tale of a winged Everyman, just being missed by a swatting hand or a descending brown shoe under contrasting pink pants. Vignettes of the animals being raised to become someone else's meal need only hints of skin and feathers next to the bloodied red knife to explain Franklin's horror. Tiny he may be, but his outrage at the butterfly hunter is evident as well. A fly will never seem quite the same after meeting Franklin.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews