Mahrya's Reviews > A Bargain for Frances

A Bargain for Frances by Russell Hoban
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Oct 29, 08

bookshelves: juvenilia
Recommended for: 2nd and 3rd Graders
Read in October, 2008

Hoban, Russell. A Bargain for Frances, Harper & Row, 62 pages. Early reader, series: I Can Read.

Description: Frances' friend, Thelma, tricks Frances into buying her subpar tea set. In the end, Frances gets the tea set she wants and helps Thelma become a better friend.

Review: In Bargain for Frances, Hoban has developed a very believable, kid-like world using the limited vocabulary of an early reader. Kids who are almost ready for chapter books will enjoy Frances' adventures in dealing with Thelma, going to the store by herself and skipping rope. There is a good deal of repetition and rhyme, but this reader also introduces children to more complex words and longer sentences.

The illustrations in the book are somewhat disappointing, though. Although it is never stated, the characters in this book appear to be badgers. Strangely, they all look exactly the same. Thelma, Frances and Gloria were not drawn with distinctive features or even different clothes to distinguish them. The pictures are all pencil and pastel drawings that seem a little flat and dated. Still, their faces are expressive and cute. Perhaps the illustrations were rendered in this way so as not to distract from the text.

Professional Reviews:
Kirkus Review, September, 1970.
This review focuses on the intricacy of the plot and states that this book is meant for slightly older children. I agree that readers of this book should be comfortable with reading for meaning and should be old enough to appreciate a story about a conflict resolution.

Courtot, Marilyn. Children's Literature, 2003.
Courtot believes that this book teaches children important lessons about friendship and that it has stood up well over time. I agree that the characters are still relatable.
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