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Framed Hardcover – August 22, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 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 naïveté, and expression of absolute belief in his dad that is truly a masterpiece.–Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
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From Booklist

In a quiet Welsh town, nine-year-old Dylan Hughes helps his family run the struggling Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel. Quirky characters populate the community, including Daft Tom, who has a decades-old obsession with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, cartoon characters named for Renaissance artists. One day a convoy of vans passes through town, headed to some abandoned slate quarry mines. Dylan learns that the convoy is transporting paintings taken from the National Gallery because of flooding in London (an incident based on a real art evacuation that took place during World War II). It isn't long before Dylan's own familiarity with the cartoon turtles results in a misunderstanding about his knowledge of art. Like the mutagen that transformed the Turtles, the presence of the paintings brings changes to Dylan's family and to the townsfolk. Even with an attempted painting heist, this is a quieter book than Millions (2004), but the readers who take to its message about the importance of art will be charmed. A list of the hidden paintings is appended. Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett may be a good follow-up. Cindy Dobrez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 306 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First American Edition edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060734027
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060734022
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,895 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kelly Herold on December 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
If there's a novel I loved this year more than Frank Cottrell Boyce's "Framed," then I don't know what it is. "Framed" is a stunning, original work--a work infused with love, innocence, and deep wit.

Dylan is the last boy left in Manod, a small town in Snowdonia, Wales. Being the last boy has its problems, most notably Dylan has no one to play football with. Oh, and the nastiest girl in school, Terrible, now has a clear bearth to torment him. Otherwise, Dylan's life is pretty good. His parents own the town's garage, he has a genius little sister (Minnie), a cute baby brother (Max), and an even-tempered older sister (Marie). His dad doesn't even get mad at him when he mixes up oil and anti-freeze when working in the garage. Dad assigns him to the logs instead, which turn into a hilarious diary noting the weather (always damp and rainy) and which villager has been in the garage each day.

Then things start to go wrong. Or, at least differently. Dylan remains ever optimistic, so he doesn't register the gravity of events around him. First and foremost, the weather has changed. It rains every single day in Manod now, and people don't enjoy the beauty of the village any longer. There have been floods in London, and nearly every man in the village has left with family in tow to work on a new barrier. And the garage is in trouble. Dylan's parents can no longer afford to buy petrol ahead of time. Their Mini Cooper disappears and all sources of income dry up. New mysterious people arrive to town and take up residence in the quarries of Manod's mountain.

Dylan's father leaves the family and Dylan's mother, with her four children and a nearly defunct garage, is despondent. The kids dream up ways to earn extra cash.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on December 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Framed is a great book about art and crime. It took me a long time to read it, but it was worth it. It's about a normal nine-year-old boy. This boy is the only boy in the small town of Manod in the United Kingdom.This boy (named Dillon) lives with his mam, dad, older sister Marie,younger sister Minnie, and the baby Max. But strange things happen when a man comes down Manod Mountain.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 28, 2006
Format: Audio CD
British screenwriter Frank Cottrell Boyce won a host of fans and a mantel of prizes with his first book for young readers, Millions, and he'll likely do the same with Framed, a funny, heartwarming story of family and the impact of art on people.

Nine-year-old Dylan is the only boy in town. While that sounds lonely and austere, Manod is a very small community so being the only boy isn't extremely odd, and he does have two best friends - his pet chickens, Michelangelo and Donatello. Named after Renaissance artists? No. After the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

His parents are the sole proprietors of the Snowdonia Oasis Auto Marvel garage, an enterprise that doesn't quite make ends meet for his family. Dylan's task is to tend to the petrol log, thus he's very aware of the cars and the people who come and go in Manod. That isn't a terribly daunting task because not too many come or go in this little Welch town. So, when two lorries suddenly appear and head for an abandoned mine, it sets Dylan's fertile young mind to wondering.

Author Boyce indicates that Framed was inspired by a story he'd read referring to the collection of valuable paintings from the National Gallery that were hidden in a slate mine during World War II. How, he wondered, did the presence of those masterpieces affect those who lived nearby when one was brought out for them to see.

There's no wondering about the voice performance delivered by actor Jason Hughes. He finely captures narrator Dylan as the boy fondly remembers a father who warmed the sea for swimming by pouring in a tea kettle of hot water. For this listener, Hughes is especially effective when Dylan is describing his family and the town in which he lives.

For young listeners ages 8 - 14. (Parents will enjoy it as well).

- Gail Cooke
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Su Hampton on August 26, 2009
Format: Audio CD
This is the best audio production of a book I have ever heard in my life. This included both Adult and Young Adult. My children and I often listen to CDs in the car and when this was in the player, we couldn't WAIT to get back in the car and listen. My children would ask every single day, "Mom, do we have someplace really FAR we have to go today?" I would find myself listening on ahead of them when they weren't there because it was so delightfully rendered, and then being thrilled I got to back up and listen to it again when I had them in the car. We orginially took this out of the library and I bought it afterward. In fact, the book is so good, I bought TWO copies of the book so my kids could each have one and the audio CD as well. The story is SO hilarious and brilliantly told I bought them each a copy so that when they are adults they will EACH be able to read it to their own children. There is nothing but good to say about this book on CD. Do yourself a HUGE favor and buy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Pop Bop TOP 500 REVIEWER on March 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoy books set in Wales, but lots of them are either a bit too twee or have a disturbing gloss of English condecension. Rhys Bowen's Evan Evans mysteries are very satisfying, as are Arthur remakes like Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising Sequence.
But for every one of those you get an Arthur mashup failure or a cutesy cozy. Which is why it is a pleasure to recommend this book.
The nine year old protagonist has an authentic voice. The village of Manod is right. The family is right. The whole novel is just well-settled in.
Then you get to add in a fine plot, great secondary characters, and a funny and sometimes hilarious deadpan narrator.
An absolute charm of a book. Good entertainment for younger readers, and fine for adults.
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