Regular readers of Linda’s Book Bag will know just how much I enjoy children’s books and I’m delighted to review one of their latest, Franklyn: No Ordinary Fox by Nick Jones. My enormous thanks to Nick for sending me a copy and for his patience in waiting for a review. Now, instead of putting out a review today, I should be off in Bryan the motorhome. So, there are some benefits of having holidays cancelled when you get Covid. You can fit in another book instead!
Published on 3rd March 2022 by Franklyn Financial Management , Franklyn: No Ordinary Fox is available for purchase here.
Franklyn: No Ordinary Fox
Franklyn is not like other foxes. He eats nuts and berries, is kind to all animals and would never knock your bin over!
Sadly, the other foxes don’t like his differences, and one day the local bully, Mitchell, forces him to leave town.
Franklyn’s one friend, Florence, is sad to see him go and worries that she’ll never see him again. But she won’t be worried for long – after all, Franklyn is no ordinary fox!
My Review of Franklyn: No Ordinary Fox
Franklyn: No Ordinary Fox is quite lovely. As I always expect from a book by Nick Jones, it has wonderful illustrations that are utterly charming and perfect for the target age group being child-like and engaging without being childish. The natural colours of browns and greens fit the environmental aspect of the story and the balance of text to image means younger or reluctant readers won’t be daunted by huge tracts of written word. In a similar manner to the illustrations, the language of Franklyn: No Ordinary Fox is pitch perfect. There’s challenging vocabulary that increases literacy but it is accessible through the context and illustrations.
As well as being a charming story in its own right, Franklyn: No Ordinary Fox has wonderful themes that educate children in a subtle and effective manner. It allows children to engage with nature and the environment as they learn about urban foxes and how they survive in the human world. It affords bullied and vulnerable children to identify with the concept of being bullied and with true friendship as Franklyn and Florence find friendship and happiness. Nick Jones also explores co-operation as Franklyn works with the rabbits and he shows just how much stronger and happier we are if we are kind and work with others rather than against them. There are hints of sustainability too, such as when Florence’s gifted plant from Franklyn becomes home to the chrysalis, so that I can imagine all kinds of projects springing from reading this book. I’d love to see children sowing seeds from the fruits they eat and seeing what happens for example, just like Franklyn does.
And Franklyn must be acknowledged for being a fantastic role model. He doesn’t rise to provocation from Mitchell, but responds with a smile and equanimity that diffuses difficult situations. His difference is celebrated in the book, giving status to children who themselves feel as if they don’t quite fit in. Indeed, I think the lessons of Franklyn: No Ordinary Fox are relevant to all of us – not just the children who are the target audience for the book. We could all do with using a smile in the face of aggression sometimes!
Franklyn: No Ordinary Fox is another smashing addition to Nick’s writing. I really recommend it.
About Nick Jones
Nick Jones is an award-winning children’s author based in Congleton, Cheshire.
His first children’s picture book, Sarah’s Shadow, was published in December 2017. In 2018 the book won Best Picture Book in the international Readers’ Favorite book awards. It also received an honourable mention in the Purple Dragonfly Awards’ ebooks for children aged 6+, and Runner-Up in the Book Excellence Awards.
His second children’s picture book, One Night in Beartown, was published November 2020 and is set in Congleton where Nick lives. Inspired by the Bearmania event that took place in 2011, the story follows a bear-obsessed little girl who has a magical night to remember when her teddy bear Berisford, a bear statue and the Bearmania painted bears all come to life.
In December 2021 Nick published his third picture book, One Christmas in Beartown. Book critic Linda Hill gave the book five stars, saying: “One Christmas in Beartown is a wonderful story of how friendship can help us face our fears.”
Nick’s fourth book, Franklyn – No Ordinary Fox, was published in 2022 by Franklyn Financial Management. Nick also owns children’s book publishing company Full Media, which publishes his books and those by other children’s authors such as Emma Sandford, Jocelyn Porter and Izzy Rees.