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A Birthday for Frances (Frances the Badger)

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4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  2,039 Ratings  ·  82 Reviews
Tomorrow is Gloria's birthday, and Frances is not happy about it. "That's how it is, " she says. "Your birthday is always the one that is not now." Frances does not want to be a part of any celebration that is not for her, let alone one for her little sister. But when Frances realizes that she is the only one not giving Gloria a present, she rises to the occasion and decid ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published April 28th 1976 by Turtleback Books (first published August 28th 1968)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Anna
Apr 25, 2007 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidslit
Squeeze the chompo bar.
Melody
Sep 10, 2007 Melody rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aloud
I love Frances. I love when kids come to my house and clamor for more Frances books. I love still having a few in reserve. I love reading them to people. I love reading them to myself. I am barmy for Frances.

But this Frances book has the best line in maybe the whole series, and one I quote on approximately 364 days each year: "That is how it is, Alice," said Frances. "Your birthday is always the one that is not now."
And usually when I quote it, I give your Chompo bar a little exploratory squeeze
...more
Emily
Sep 10, 2013 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read the Frances books as a kid and was delighted to find I loved them just as much when I read them to my children. The author clearly has experience with children and portrays Frances so realistically. Take this exchange, after Frances asks her mother what their parents are giving her younger sister for her birthday:

"'I am not going to give Gloria any present,' said Frances.
'That is all right,' said Mother, and Frances began to cry.
'What is the matter?' said Mother. 'Why are you crying?'
'Eve
...more
midnightfaerie
A great level 2 book for beginner readers. A fun story and a good lesson in learning that birthday's aren't always all about you, but the person whose birthday it is. A good length with some new names that made it interesting and something my 5 yr old could relate to while he was reading it. We love the Frances books.
Kara
Frances is back with more delightful ditties and dialogue, but she's a bit churlish about little sister Gloria's birthday.
Shanna Gonzalez
Nov 20, 2009 Shanna Gonzalez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-04-08
Frances' sister Gloria is having a birthday party, and as the preparations commence Frances begins to deal with feelings of jealousy over the attention Gloria is receiving. When she realizes everyone is giving Gloria a present but her, she begins to cry, then lights upon the idea of buying Gloria a Chompo bar and some gumballs with an advance on her allowance. But on the way home she "accidentally" eats the gumballs, and Father takes the Chompo bar for safekeeping. As the time for the party grow ...more
Constance
Oct 12, 2015 Constance rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have recently discovered Frances, and I love her. Frances makes up songs - very quietly - and she runs away from home by hiding under the table. The books are clever, and sweet, and Frances is an introspective and thoughtful character.

In this one, baby sister Gloria has a birthday. Frances get her a present that costs two weeks allowance, but she is mad at Gloria and maybe a little jealous and doesn't want to give her the present. But everything works out in the end.
Heidi-Marie
I love Frances. She's a precocious little girl who has the typical lessons that need to be learned as a child. And, eventually, she learns them. This one is a classic--not your birthday, misunderstanding between siblings. She makes you smile even as she makes her mistakes. And I never get over how adorable the pictures are.
Viviane Elbee
Jan 23, 2017 Viviane Elbee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
This book is on the longer side because it is an older book.
But it is still very funny and the kids could totally relate to the feelings of sibling jealousy.
My kids teased each other about chompo bars afterwards.
Danette
Nov 07, 2016 Danette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
Deals with sibling rivalry and jealousy.

Read with Naomi.
Becky
A Birthday for Frances. Russell Hoban. Illustrated by Lillian Hoban. 1968/1995. HarperCollins. 32 pages.

First sentence: It was the day before Frances's little sister Gloria's birthday.

Premise/plot: It is Gloria's birthday. And Frances decides--a bit reluctantly--that she should buy something for her baby sister with her allowance. She decides on one Chompo bar (chocolate bar) and four gumballs. But it isn't easy for Frances to keep her mind made up. The more she thinks about it, the more she th
...more
Jen
1.5 stars

While I really enjoyed the illustrations in this book, the story wasn't the greatest and I don't particularly want my young nieces to read this one. Much of this reason relates to the primary character: Frances the Badger. There were a number of things I didn't care for in this story:

I did not like how Frances used random letters to spell words, and I especially did not like that her mother did not correct her or help her understand how to properly spell those words. I did not like th
...more
Helen
Oh, how I love this book.

Like big sisters everywhere the world over, Frances the badger is narcissistic, selfish, bossy, and mean to her little sister.

It is the day before little sister Gloria's birthday party, and Mother and Gloria are sitting at the kitchen table making placecards for the party. Instead of helping, Frances is in the broom closet, feeling sorry for herself and singing:

Happy Thursday to you,
Happy Thursday to You,
Happy Thursday dear Alice,
Happy Thursday to you.


No one in this
...more
HeavyReader
In this edition of the Frances saga, it's little sister Gloria's birthday. Frances wishes it were her birthday, but it's not. Frances gets Gloria a Chompo bar (soft nougat wrapped in chewy caramel covered in chocolate and nuts) and four gumballs, but chews the gumballs on the walk home. Frances wants to keep the Chompo bar for herself, but gives it to Gloria, who eats the whole thing.

Also nice is the bit about Frances' imaginary friend Alice who doesn't have birthdays. Frances sings "Happy Thurs
...more
Stephanie
"I will be out of town visiting Alice for two weeks,
and I will be back for dinner."


The other day, my coworker and I were reminiscing about children's books since I've been looking for ones to read to Caleb, and I fondly remembered the Frances books. I didn't remember ever reading this birthday one, but she told me it was one of the best, so I wanted to read it right away. It's pretty hilarious! Frances is so funny (without meaning to be) and I love how she speaks with no contractions at all, and
...more
Margaret Chind
Absolutely joy and jumping up and down was the response when I opened the box that contained this early reader, I Can Read! Level 2 version of A Birthday for Frances as my preschooler just loves the character and antics of Frances from Russell and Lillian Hoban. This is an adorable little tale of conscience where Frances deals with what she wants, and what is right about jealousy and fairness when it comes to her sister's birthday present and party. It is a good one for early discussion on what ...more
Phil
Jan 02, 2016 Phil rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am fortunate that this is among my daughter's favorite books. Russell Hoban captures the richness that pervades children's thoughts, words, and interactions, and he does it without any of the heavy-handed tropes so common to children's literature.

The "Frances" books in general are marked by healthy and amusing parent, child, and sibling relationships, all betwixt endearingly flawed individuals. Particularly good about this title is the unmitigated generosity displayed by one character at the
...more
LaSchelle
Jan 29, 2008 LaSchelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I bought the record of this with my own money when I was in grade school from the Scholastic Book club. I listened to the record over and over again. I memorized it.

As I've given gifts, I've remembered how Frances gave "two whole allowances" to her sister Gloria for her birthday--the ultimate sacrifice for her. I loved how the parent's taught Frances to be nice to Gloria. I also loved Frances' imaginary friend Alice--I had an imaginary friend when I was a kid.

My sister gave this to me for my bir
...more
Michelle
Apr 18, 2013 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All the Frances stories get childhood just right. The details are what make these stories so insightful--the way Frances squeezes the chocolate bar she really wishes she could keep for herself instead of giving it to her sister Gloria for her birthday, the way she "spells" words, the way Mother is always nearby even when Frances goes "out of town." The Hobans present the self-centeredness of childhood with so much compassion, children can see themselves in these characters and forgive themselves ...more
Sherie
Mar 29, 2012 Sherie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What does Frances want to get Gloria for her birthday? Nothing because Gloria lost Frances' pail and shovel and Frances is short on forgiveness. She finally gets an advance on her allowance and buys Gloria a Chompo bar and some bubble gum, but she's not sure she will give the Chompo bar because little sisters aren't much good at anything. Frances and Albert discuss younger siblings and use some magical spelling to sort outtheir frustrations. Also Frances does her version of the birthday song.
Anna
Jul 23, 2012 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
Frances cannot get into the spirit for her sister Gloria's birthday. She is just too jealous of all the attention Gloria is getting. But at the end, Frances does the right thing.

A good tale for younger elementary and preschoolers. Most children have these feelings and to see a fictional character share them and then work through it can be quite helpful.

My grandsons gave the book high marks.
Sjstanley
Apr 07, 2010 Sjstanley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this greatly as a child (though I didn't laugh where my mom did, which threw me a few curves); now read it regularly to my children--and laugh where my mom used to!

Russell Hoban captures the slightly truculent voice of Frances quite well. The made-up songs, bizarre spellings (s-m-f-o = better) and imaginative aspects will be comfortable territory for children and entertainment for adults who lost their key to childhood mindset.
Connie
May 15, 2010 Connie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Birthdays can be HARD when you're not the birthday child. Frances realistically is upset that her baby sister gets cake and presents and SHE DOES NOT. So she eats her sister's present. Whoops.

There's a moral in here, though a bit of an inexpressible one, and there's a lot of realism. What more can you ask for?
Cana
Nov 27, 2008 Cana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mommy says: We read this right around the time that our green-eyed monster watched us celebrate her little brother's birthday. It helped us underscore the message that we celebrate the birthday of and give gifts to the child who is turning a year older, not the other one, who needs to wait for her own birthday!
Tracy
Dec 25, 2015 Tracy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED the Frances books when I was in early elementary school, and I have shared them with my kids since then. Bread and Jam for Frances is still one of my all-time favorites. But. A Birthday for Frances just doesn't do it for me; I love Frances, but she was just downright annoying in this book. Don't think my 6-year-old thought too much of it either.
Lisa
May 27, 2009 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A cute addition to the Frances books, about dealing with jealousy of a sibling. Frances is having issues with the fact that it is Gloria's birthday and not her own - something many children deal with. I love how it is resoved in the end, and how it shows that the two of them really love each other.
Kaylin
This was an ok book. The only two things I didnt like about this book was that Frances was very jealous about Gloria's birthday. Also that Frances was kind of being a jerk and eating Gloria's 4 gumballs and also squishing his choco bar. But the other parts of the book was ok. I hope you read this book it was alright!
Alfajirikali
I don't recall enjoying this series when I was young and was not looking forward to reading it, but it was on a suggested reading list so we took a look. Although Athena didn't seem to enjoy it so much, I thought it had some very funny elements. To me it captured features of a precocious 3 year old in an uncanny way.
Megan
Mar 27, 2012 Megan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: birthday
Frances is quite the little character. She reminds me of my niece, in fact. She spends her allowance to buy a gift for her little sister's birthday and struggles deciding whether or not to actually give it to her, because she'd rather keep it (or eat it really) herself.
ABC
May 21, 2009 ABC rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: younger-kids
It is Frances' sister's birthday and Frances buys her a Chompo Bar and some bubble gum. She ends up eating the bubble gum, but gives the Chompo Bar to her sister. A book about learning to share.

This book has a very old-fashioned feel to it.
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“Who is Alice?" asked mother.
"Alice is somebody that nobody can see," said Frances. "And that is why she does not have a birthday. So I am singing Happy Thursday to her." - Frances the badger”
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