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A Birthday for Frances
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A Birthday for Frances (Frances the Badger)

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4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  1,161 ratings  ·  61 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 of 1,488)
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Melody
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
Anna
Squeeze the chompo bar.
Emily
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.
Heidi
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.
Shanna Gonzalez
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
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
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 tha
...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
Fran
Special books from my childhood. Picked up to read again when at my parents one weekend.
LaSchelle
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
Sherie
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.
Quint
Frances and Albert are a bit mean to Gloria in this book. Q convinced he will be the birthday girl.
Sjstanley
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.
Anna
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.
Cana
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!
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.
Connie
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?
Lisa
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.
Cecily
All of the Frances books are a hit with Simon. He loves singin the songs with me and riding his "Champ" around the house. I love that the book has enought interesting fun for parents that reading the book for the hundredth time doesn't get old. (I still mess up Frances's spelling everytime.)
Erin
I love this book. All the Frances books are fun to read out loud because you get to improvise the funny songs that Frances sings. We have read this book several times this month seeing as there are 4 birthdays within a month in our family and sometimes someone feels a little left out...
Megan
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.
Jen Rhodes
Jun 20, 2012 Jen Rhodes rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jen by: a childrens' author
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tracy
Frances was in the 1001 Children's Books to Read Before you Grow Up. Personally there is way too much text in this book, although Francis' struggle with her little sister's birthday is a very relateable toddler feeling. I like the predictable happy ending. :)
elissa
I don't remember reading this as a child, but I fell in love with it when I became a librarian. I don't think I knew that the Frances books were a series when I was growing up. Another librarian that I worked with gave it to my older son as a present when he was born.
Kristeli
I listened to this book over and over with my sister, who owned it. Many years later my Mother found the record and gave it to me saying, "I think this is yours." As much as I wanted it to be mine, I told her is wasn't and took it home to my sister.
Kirei
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.
Ali
Was Russel Hoban a first born? This book hits home with the weird blend of insecurities and jealousy and lots and lots of love that older siblings experience as children.
...Also my mouth still waters at the thought of that Chompo bar!
Terri Uglem
I was just thinking about the Frances books the other day, as I have off and on throughout the years. A Birthday for Frances was one of my favorite books and used to read it over and over. A definite for 6-7 year-old-girls.
Kara
This book continues to be a favorite of mine almost 21 years after my introduction to it. I am still able to quote the book to my niece in the hope that one day she will do the same for me.
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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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