Sunday, February 10, 2008

Book Report/Four Frances books

This is Frances the badger and she is the heroine of four books by Russell Hoban written in 1960, 1964, and 1977. Four wonderful, heart-warming books filled with the love of family and home life. We read them to our children over and over again, and listened to an audio version read by the perfect narrator, Glynis Johns, whom you may remember as the mother in the movie, Mary Poppins. The other day I was between audio books, and came upon the tape among the many childhood tapes in our house, and decided to listen again. The wonder and joy of Frances is how real she is. Children will recognize their own feelings, and parents will see their children in her. Bedtime For Frances addresses the usual childhood fears of going to bed, with some lovely touches like the parents out in the living room,

watching television and having tea and cake.

So reassuring for the frightened child to patter out of her bedroom, and come upon such a homey, safe scene. Frances' parents help her to cope with her fears by telling her that it is the wind's job to

go around and blow all the curtains.

Bread And Jam For Frances includes many of her delightful little songs such as,

I do not like the way you slide,
I do not like your soft inside,
I do not like you lots of ways,
And I could do for many days
Without eggs.

And my favorite, favorite part which both Tom and I have remembered for all these years; the way Frances and her friend Albert make their lunches "come out even." Frances doesn't think she likes any foods except for bread and jam, and her kind and shrewd parents help her through by offering only bread and jam for every meal until she sings,

What I am
Is tired of jam.

A Baby Sister For Frances and A Birthday For Frances tell us more about this loving family as they are joined by little Gloria. These are just the best books, and I highly recommend them if you are a parent of young children, or if you are not, but would love to read (or listen) to books that will "warm the cockles" of your heart.


  1. I adore Frances. Adore. And those perfect illustrations - Garth Williams I think? The audio you speak of - I had the same on a record and played it over and over. There's nothing like those little songs. I purchased a new version on a CD for my little one but it's just not the same. I think Bread and Jam is my favorite, especially the descriptions of those wonderful sounding lunches.

    Look at all that snow! Wow. It was freezing here (-16 when we woke up) so stayed home and tried to entertain all day. I get such a kick out of you listening to Amy Winehouse. I hope she gets herself sorted out. Her voice would be a terrible thing to waste.

  2. These are lovely books and I had one as a kid which was given to my sister called Frances, I think the book was A Baby Sister for Frances. It mentions a Chompo bar. It's very cute and real.

  3. Oh, I love these books. Just seeing the picture you posted brought a huge smile to my face. :)


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