I was chatting on Twitter this morning, and the topic of Frances came up.  And it reminded me of this post.  I thought I’d repost since I’m still recuperating from my three days in Philly and don’t have much else to say this morning!

I have a confession to make.  I do not enjoy reading aloud to my children.  There.  I admitted it.  Shocking, I know.  I mean, it’s one of the least maternal things I could possibly say, right up there with saying that I smoke in the car with my kids or something.  (Which, of course, I most certainly do not, in case my attempt at sarcasm didn’t come through loud and clear.)

I know well the benefits of reading aloud, and I love reading silently to myself.  But I’ve never enjoyed reading aloud for extended periods of time.  When I was a third-grade teacher, after read-aloud time, I would be so tired I would have to sit down and rest.  In fact, I always scheduled an independent work assignment afterwards so I had time to recharge.

And with my own children, I feel the same way.  I do it, but it’s a chore.

With one major exception.  The Frances stories.

I absolutely ADORE Frances.  I cannot read a page without howling in laughter.  There are times when I get myself laughing so hard I have to put the book down and wait till I calm down.  It is THAT entertaining.
For one thing, Frances reminds me of my C.  C is ALWAYS singing made-up songs to herself.  And the way Frances converses with her parents just echo’s C’s little voice.

We had Bedtime for Frances and Baby Sister for Frances (Bedtime For Frances is by far and away my favorite), and a few weeks ago my mom brought Bread and Jam for Frances to C.  So the other night, I had the delight of reacquainting myself with another one of the classic tales of Frances.  And I laughed myself silly.

If you are living under a rock and haven’t heard of Frances, or even if you are one of her millions of admirers, let me share with you some of my favorite scenes from the book.

The premise is, Frances only wants to eat bread and jam, despite her parents’ gentle attempts to get her to eat a variety of foods.

So one morning at breakfast, she sits down to a meal of soft-boiled eggs.  And this is how the story goes:

Frances did not eat her egg.
She sang a little song to it.
She sang the song very softly:

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.

When questioned as to why she was eating only bread and jam and not her egg, Frances replied,

“One of the reasons I like bread and jam is that it does not slide off your spoon in a funny way.”

Father takes this in stride but tries to convince Frances that there are other ways to eat eggs.  But Frances has an answer for every one of them.

“Yes,” said Frances.  “But sunny-side-up eggs lie on the plate and look up at you in a funny way. And sunny-side-down eggs just lie on their stomaches and wait.”

“What about scrambled eggs?” said Father.

“Scrambled eggs fall off the fork and roll under the table,” said Frances.

And so they do.  Isn’t that the FUNNIEST??  The author has SUCH a way with words.

So that night at dinner, when Frances once again declines dinner in favor of bread and jam, Father asks her how she’ll know what she’ll like if she doesn’t try anything new.

“Well,” said Frances, “there are many different things to eat, and they taste many different ways. But when I have bread and jam I always know what I am getting, and I am always pleased.”

I love that.  “I always know what I am getting, and I am always pleased.”

I can TOTALLY relate to Frances.  Whenever I go to a restaurant, once I find something I like, I will get the same dish every time I go.  I could try something new, and sure, it might be great.  But it also might not be as good as the dish I am accustomed to getting, and I would rather be guaranteed to have something I like than to gamble and be disappointed.

At the end of the story, Frances finally decides that she is quite sick of bread and jam, and the story ends with her eating a healthy lunch with a variety of foods, and thus reveals the biggest reason why I love Frances.

And she made the lobster-salad sandwich, the celery, the carrot sticks, and the olives come out even.

(See my 100 Things List #37 and #38.)

If you don’t have this book, PLEASE go get it.  And get a few other Frances stories while you’re at it.  You will LOVE them.

Originally posted 5-30-07

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11 Responses

  1. I have to admit, I have not read or seen these books. I’ll have to go check them out. My personal faves right now are the Fancy Nancy series and the Bear Snores On series(ie, Bear Feels Sick, Bear Wakes Up, etc). Thanks for the tip!

  2. I loved these books as a child… my mom read them to me AND I had the books on tape! In fact when my sister was born when I was 4, I tried so hard to convince my parents that we needed to name her Gloria because that was what Frances’ sister was named! (They went with Cammie instead.)

  3. J *loves* Frances! He is on a Frances obssession. Along with fire stations. We read her books and now we watch her on OnDemand. And how about that Gloria? Too cute!

    The only thing I want to say is: “Get in bed Frances and STAY THERE!!” Those badger parents are waaay tooo patient. 😉

  4. Bread and Jam for Frances was my favorite book growing up. I can still hear my mom’s voice reading it to me. Thanks for prompting me to recall such a wonderful memory this morning!

  5. We love “A Bargain for Frances”. Her little friend Thelma is such a tart in the story, but Frances comes out a winner in the end.

  6. I love the Frances books! I discovered them in first grade and they were absolutely a childhood favorite. Thanks for spreading the Frances joy to others!

  7. I’m like you, always ordering the same thing that I know I’ll like. I’ll have to check these out at the library to read to my three year old. Thanks for the tip!

  8. I just LOVE reading to my daughter. She has a growing selection of books and I must say, I’ve never heard of Frances! Now I’ll have to check our local library, they sound quite interesting.

  9. I always loved Francis too! I read outloud to my oldest daugter endlessly – over and over day in and day out…my youngest? Hmmmm…I always seem to find the shortest book to read to her at bed time and get so excited when she lets her sister read instead of me!

  10. I love love love Frances books! I was just looking through the PBS On Demand list on TV tonight, and my girls and I found that they have a Frances SHOW! I am curious to see if it is worth watching, as my kids weren’t in the mood for it tonight. When I was little, I loved A Bargain for Frances. She wants a china tea set, with pictures on it in blue–the exact kind of tea set I had when I was a little girl.

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