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Franklin the Turtle

Television & Books

by Brenda Clark

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Franklin the Turtle originated in a series of books by
Brenda Clark (illustrator) and Paulette Bourgeois (author)
and gained popularity as a Canadian children's television
series. The star character on the television series
"Franklin the Turtle" is of course the lead character in the

The books and television series were translated into French
and cartoon shorts are presented with Franklin and the other
characters, along with a theme song. DVDs of the show that
are produced for Canada offer the option of watching them in
French or English. There have been five seasons altogether,
but only the first four have been widely available, the
fifth season has only been available on Canada's Family

For two years, 1998 to 1999, the program aired in the US on
CBS' Saturday-morning lineup before moving to Nick Jr. in
January of 1999. In the fall of 2000, it returned to CBS and
ran until September of 2002. Nick Jr. was the primary United
States broadcaster for the series up until 2003, but then
the new Noggin digital cable/satellite channel for
preschoolers started to show all four seasons of Franklin,
introducing the show to American preschoolers (many of whom
were already familiar with the books). The show immediately
became very popular in the U.S. and the fifth season was
soon added to the Noggin line-up. The sixth season began on
New Year's Day 2006 with two episodes and then a new one
airing each day.

In October of 2000, the direct-to-video and DVD movie
"Franklin and the Green Knight" introduced Franklin's little
sister Harriet. The two shared an adventure in 2001 in
"Franklin's Magic Christmas." In 2003, in the new release
"Back to School," Harriet had grown a lot and she and
Franklin learned new things from Mrs. Koala, their
substitute teacher. Harriet also made a new friend named Kit
who became a regular on the series.

In 2004, a number of things came together for the Franklin
television series and the fifth season was released in the
United States on the Noggin cable/satellite network. The
episodes began in March of 2004 and are still airing

In May 2004, brand-new episodes of the series began airing
on a Canadian network called Treehouse TV. Franklin and many
of his friends had new voice actors in these new adventures,
but many of the show's best writers and staff-members
stayed. In these new stories Franklin faced a flood, joined
a group called the Woodland Trailblazers and earned a badge,
and dealt with problems concerning the old treehouse.

Franklin can also be seen in two touring stage shows,
"Franklin's Big Adventure" and "Franklin's Class Concert."
These stage shows "feature a number of songs designed to
delight both young and adult audiences including "Come See
the World," "What I Do in the Morning" and "The Dinosaur
Song." Also, music from "Franklin's Big Adventure" (along
with music "Franklin and the Green Knight") is available on
the album "Hey, It's Franklin."

Franklin is a growing young turtle and "...could count by
twos and tie his shoes," as his television stories always
begin. He lives in a small village with his friends and
family, goes to school, and has many adventures playing and
learning in the world around him -sometimes with the helping
hand of his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Turtle or another adult.
Franklin likes arts and crafts, especially drawing, and
loves swimming and shoofly pie, and, since he is a young
turtle, sometimes he is afraid of the dark and of

According to the show staff, Franklin is a bit older than
the members of the show's target audience. Franklin's
adventures usually teach children how to solve problems on
their own, although sometimes he does still need help from
his parents or friends. The parents on the show are said to
be the creators' visions of ideal parents --- they always
solve problems patiently and kindly and never argue in front
of their children. The creators "hope parents also can see
the characters on the show as parenting role models, even
though they aren't always perfect." As for Franklin, his
activities and behaviors attempt to show children that while
there are good and bad ways to behave, it's okay to be sad
or mad sometimes as long as you deal with it in good ways.

Many Franklin television stories are based on books in the
original Franklin Adventure series, including "Franklin in
the Dark" and "Hurry Up, Franklin." On the flip side, many
Franklin television stories have been made into books in the
Franklin TV Storybook and Franklin First Readers series.
Usually written by Sharon Jennings, these are shorter
adaptations of what's seen on television.

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