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4.5 out of 5 stars
58
4.5 out of 5 stars


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I rushed out and bought this after having read Millions and thinking it was one of the best children's books I'd read for ages. Framed did not disappoint either.

The narrator is Dylan, the only schoolboy left in the dying Welsh town of Manod. Dylan's family run a petrol station, and are scraping to make ends meet. The town is turned upside down after a bunch of mysterious men are seen travelling up the mountain which looms over the town and Dylan and his family investigate.

This is written as a kind of diary by Dylan. There are many wonderful things about this book. It is both serious and has a wonderful lightness of touch. The juxtaposition of the world of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and high art works tremendously well. What I loved best is that Dylan's voice is so authentic. Cottrell Boyce inhabits perfectly the thought processes of a small boy, whilst at the same time letting us see the poignancy of the 'real' adult world underneath. Dylan's acceptance of both worlds and his impartiality in recounting them give them a realism, humour and tenderness which lifts this writing right out of the ordinary.

Fantastic.
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on 14 September 2010
The book is thoroughly enjoyable.
Its mixture of fact and fiction makes an enjoyable read.
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on 12 January 2007
I have just finished reading Framed and feel like the sun should be shining outside.

Framed is one of those books that you don't want to finish. It is full of charm and warmth.

There are so many great characters that you want to find out more about - does Mr Davis build up his life again to become happy? - what happens to the blossoming romance between Lester and Ms Stannard? Dylan is such a well formed character that you want to know what else happens to him and his family.

I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading anything. It is a delight.
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on 5 January 2006
Reading this book gave me the feeling prevously experienced when watching a certain type of auteurish foreign film. The sort where nothing overly significant happens but the characters are so interesting you don't want the film to end. Early in the book I found myself surrounded by a group of beautifully defined and believably idiosyncratic characters who I would gladly have shared time with regardless of the plot. It is one of those books to relish rather than to rush. I'm looking forward to sharing this one with my own children and will be gathering postcards of the featured paintings to use as bookmarks for that journey. Just like Dylan and co, a young reader could have their eyes opened to the life affirming beauty of art by this book. (How about an edition with colour plates of the artworks?) In both this title and in Millions before it the author has demonstrated his perceptive knowledge of children and their relationships with each other and with adults - he has certainly found a niche in this genre, while being skillful enough and resourceful enough to write two very different books. I'm certainly looking forward to the next one.
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on 13 April 2009
My first knowing of this author, Frank Cottrell Boyce, was the book "Millions" which, at the time was very good. I wanted more by the same talanted author and Framed knocked Millions off the score board - the best book I have found for a long time.
If you are thinking of buying a book, look no further, this is a brilliant story about crime and paintings involved with a normal family living in Wales.
I would say it is sutible to 10 years or over.
I hope this has helped!
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on 20 March 2017
An excerpt from a review made on my blog. Find the blog on my instagram page: lastfourpages

When the small gas station in an even smaller town in Wales is threatened by the thought of shutting down, Dylan must do all that he can to help save the business that has become the livelihood of both him and his family- even if the only way to do so is through a mountain.
The story is written from the point of view of Dylan, and it is presented in a kind of diary format- but instead of a diary, he writes the tale in a logbook that belongs to the petrol station his family owns. Through this, Boyce not only creates an insightful view onto the boy's life, but he does it in a way that is so easy to relate to, for people of all ages. Whether you are a businessman with a failing business, the mother of a moody teenager, or a little boy whose life is falling apart- you will be able to relate to this story.

Of course, it’s clear that Boyce knows a lot about kids. It’s unclear whether he knows this because of intense research he may or may not have done, or because he at thattime had seven kids of his own- but either way, the point remains that he knows children, and he knows children’s fiction.

However, this book is not just a glorious work of humorous literature- it is an educational, cultural experience which I could not recommend more.
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on 28 November 2007
My Review

Reading this book gave me the feeling of funniness .The sort where nothing overly significant happens but the characters are so interesting you don't want the film to end. Early in the book I found myself surrounded by a group of beautifully defined and believably idiosyncratic characters who I would gladly have shared time with regardless of the plot. It is one of those books to relish rather than to rush. Just like Dylan and co, a young reader could have their eyes opened to the life affirming beauty of art by this book. (How about an edition with colour plates of the artworks?) In both this title and in Millions before it the author has demonstrated his perceptive knowledge of children and their relationships with each other and with adults - he has certainly found a niche in this genre, while being skilful enough and resourceful enough to write two very different books. I'm certainly looking forward to the next one
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This review is being given by my 9-year-old:

Last year we went on a plane trip to the United States for Christmas. We bought two books for the plane: Millions and Framed. When we landed in the States, we lost Framed, but when it was found I read it all in one go because I couldn't put it down.

I felt like a whole new world had all of a sudden been opened up. The content is great for children, and the story is just fantastic! I never tire of reading it. The writing is brilliant and I get a perfect idea of what the town of Manod is like. I love arts and crafts, so this was the ideal book for me. I love the idea of a bunch of pictures hidden like buried treasure under a mountain and I learned so much about the pictures in it (though I would have loved it if the painting 'Whistlejacket' was featured in it too!)

For example, The Grotesque Old Woman by Massys and Manchester Madonna by Michelangelo. They're all in the National Gallery in real life, so you could take a trip to see them, or just look them up on the internet.

Even now, I re-read it and can't put it down. The main character is quiet and doesn't know anything about art -- the most he knows is the names of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which he uses Donatello and Michelangelo as names for his two chickens. The man hiding all the paintings meets the main boy, Dylan, when he stops at the petrol station that Dylan's dad owns. He mistakenly thinks Dylan likes art because of the chickens' names, shows him a lot of pictures of paintings, and then Dylan, his sister, and a character named Daft Tom, join together to steal Sunflowers by van Gogh in order to rescue his dad's ailing garage.

Plot and character come together to make a fascinating read for both adults and children, and if I wrote down a list of the top ten best books of all time, this would be at the top!
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on 21 July 2009
Framed takes you on a journey from the perspective of one child in one village in Wales.
My year 7 students in school where set Framed as a novel and overall they loved it.
Framed contains all the key elements a novel should; humour, suspense and likeable characters.
By the middle of the novel you are living every minute with the characters. I thoroughly recommend it!!
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VINE VOICEon 6 October 2007
I'm perhaps a few (25 at a guess) years older than the target audience, but I found this book very refreshing. It is of course entirely true that art can change your life, but this book, with the help of believable characters and a fast, funny plot shows the young reader what art is, what it means, and how it can touch the lives of ordinary people who have never stepped inside an art gallery. Most importantly, this book shows the reader that everyday art already is a part of our everyday lives and that if we take the time to look at it a little closer we can build a connection between the art around us and art that hangs in galleries. BUT - even if that point doesn't hit you, it's still a great book with lots of laughs and great characters
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