Tuesday, October 16, 2012


As a little girl, long loved Russell Hoban's FRANCES series. As the oldest of three girls, I certainly understood Frances' irritation with Gloria in A BABY SISTER FOR FRANCES. And my best friend/worst enemy, Susie Smith (the names have been changed to protect the not-so innocent) was a lot like Frances' conniving friend, Thelma, who tricked Frances out of several of her much loved possessions in A BARGAIN FOR FRANCES. And then there was BEDTIME FOR FRANCES, where Frances' end-of-his-patience dad says, after Frances has gotten out of bed 87 times,
How can the wind have a job?' asked Frances.
'Everybody has a job,' said Father.
'I have to go to my office every morning at nine o'clock. That is my job. You have to go to sleep so you can be wide awake for school tomorrow. That is your job.'
Frances said, 'I know, but...'
Father said, 'I have not finished. If the wind does not blow the curtains, he will be out of a job. If I do not go to the office, I will be out of a job. And if you do not go to sleep now, do you know what will happen to you?'
'I will be out of a job?' said Frances.
'No,' said Father.
'I will get a spanking?' said Frances.
'Right!' said Father.
'Good night!' said Frances, and she went back to her room.” 
I apologize if people find this offensive, but remember, this book was written 50 years ago, when people actually did spank, or at least threaten to spank, their children for behavioral infraction. As a little girl, on windy nights, I would lay in bed chanting, "It is the wind's job to blow."

Now the FRANCES books have been released in a new easy reader format and the publisher sent me a copy of the I CAN READ version of A BIRTHDAY FOR FRANCES. Do you remember that one? Frances' little sister, Gloria, is having a birthday. And Frances is not particularly happy about it-- instead she is a teeny bit jealous and wishes it were her birthday, which is still two months away. First,  Frances says she is not celebrating her sister's birthday, but then she is upset because she is the only one in the family who doesn't have a present for Gloria. Her father walks her to the candy store, where Frances spends two weeks allowance buying four gumballs and a candy bar for her sister, but then she accidentally eats the gumballs on the way home. And she isn't sure she wants to give Gloria the candy bar…

I'm looking forward to introducing this old friend to some new readers…

(I am having issues with blogspot this morning. Spent fifteen minutes trying to adjust the font and spacing and finally gave up. Sorry!)


Linda B said...

FYI-font & spacing look fine, Carol. I loved reading these books to my daughter especially & now it's time to start with my granddaughter. Despite some of the old things, like spanking, they seem so real, like real kids feel especially. Thanks for telling about the new editions.

Unknown said...

I loved the Frances books too! I also highly enjoyed the Madeline books and the Happy face books. Frances books are timeless.