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A Bargain for Frances
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A Bargain for Frances (Frances the Badger)

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  13,521 Ratings  ·  163 Reviews
One day Thelma tricks Frances into buying her old plastic tea set. Thelma says there are no backsies on the bargain. Can Frances come up with a plan that will change her friend's mind? Outstanding Children's Books of 1970 (NYT)
Paperback, 64 pages
Published March 26th 1999 by HarperFestival (first published 1970)
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Jan 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A harrowing meditation on greed, deception, vengeancelust and the nature of Evil, this is Hoban's masterpiece. A near-flawless work of Art.
Barry King
Feb 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again, as with the other books in this series, Russell (Riddley Walker, The Medusa Frequency) and Lillian (Tea and Jam for Frances) Hoban have built a clear, core narrative around an important life-lesson for their young readers, told through the simple charcoal-and pencil medium, but enhanced by a savvy use of two-colour printing to provide a comfortable, yet salient homeliness that both assures and excites. That the narrative is carried forward through the frozen actions of a family of badgers ...more
Frances experiences the dark side of female manipulation and cunning... over a tea set. Great for a read aloud and exploring characters and motivations. My class was literally on the edge of their of seats shaking thier heads saying,"She DIDN'T"
Frances is off to play with her friend Thelma. "Be careful," warns Mamma. For it seems that, whenever Thelma and Frances play together, Frances ends up with the short end of the stick. But, what could possibly go wrong with an innocent little tea party between friends? Quite a lot when one of those friends ends up being a bit conniving and untruthful, when there is money and much longed-for tea sets involved in a trade cemented with that very firm, fast rule "no backsies."

I LOVED this book when
Beth Bonini
If you have a daughter of granddaughter, or even a female child you can regularly borrow, I thoroughly and wholeheartedly recommend the Frances the Badger series to you. This book, and Bread and Jam for Frances, were two of my best beloved books when I was a little girl . . . and my recent rereading has confirmed their sterling qualities. Neither the text, nor the charming illustrations by Lillian Hoban, have withered or faded. Great lessons about friendship in this one, combined with humour, re ...more
Lisa Vegan
Sep 26, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Kathryn
I was too old for this book when it was first published but I’m not too old for it now. I recently saw it being discussed here at Goodreads and decided to read it.

Oh, how this evokes a feeling of childhood. I’m sure I’d have loved it when I was a kid.

I loved trusting and clever Frances, and I’m in agreement with her about the blue tea set.

This is a wonderful book for kids who are ready for longer picture books, and would be a perfect springboard for a discussion about what makes someone a good f
"Being careful is not as much fun as being friends," said Frances. "Do you want to be careful, or do you want to be friends?"

Nuff said.
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 2nd and 3rd Graders
Shelves: juvenilia
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 Th
Oct 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this book Frances's "best friend" Thelma totally rips her off!
Thelma is a nasty biatch! This book made me laugh because as little
girls, Thelma and Frances back-stabbed each other for a tea-set,in a couple of years it will be over boyszzz!!! Hahahahahaloll.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The sharp take on friendship (or anything, for that matter) in this book seems rare in PBs. Is that what set it apart, or is it a sign of the times?
Scooping it Up
Sep 02, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horrible
Taking a special moment to point out one of the ugliest books for children we've checked out in a long time. It is an early reader, 1st or 2nd grade level depending on the kid. It describes a bully of a friend who manipulates the other friend over and over by lying and pressuring. But the author never calls out what this behavior is, the mother simply warns her child to "be careful" when playing with this kind of "friend" and eventually the child finds a way to lie and manipulate back to get eve ...more
Margaret Chind
We recently bought an I Can Read! Level 2 version of A Bargain for Frances in a splurge on my Frances books at my preschooler's request. Much like with Best Friends for Frances in how Frances uses a bit of whit she is obviously paying attention to some calm methods learned from her parents. Going to spend the day with a friend that has taken advantage of Frances before, her mother warns her to be careful. She is tricked out of her money and into a tea set that she did not want while her friend g ...more
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Bargain for Frances is a favorite book for many people. It was first written in 1970, so it has had the opportunity to be read by millions of people growing up. In this story, Frances gets tricked into buying a tea set from her friend, and learns that she has to be careful when playing with tricky friends.
The illustrations are a main feature of this book. Frances and her friends are drawn in wonderful detail and are drawn in a way that makes the reader fall in love with the characters.
May 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Frances is visiting her friend Thelma. Now, Thelma is one of those kids... her mom WARNS her and WARNS her that every time she plays with Thelma, things end up badly for her. SHE is the one who falls in the lake skating (because Thelma wants her to go first). SHE is the one who gets bumps in her head from playing with a boomerang (because Thelma likes to throw it).

And this time, SHE is the one who gets cheated out of her saved-up money to get a CHINA tea set, and ends up with Thelma's old junky
May 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had to search for a copy of this for my library, but I had to have it. I still remember picturing the "real china tea set with pictures all in blue" when I was a little girl. The story is about Frances and a "friend" of hers who is more of a bully. She gets tricked by her, and ends up tricking her back to get her to admitt the truth. A clever and fun book that shows you that you should treat others as you would like to be treated.
Kristine Hansen
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-easy-reader
We've all had that friend like Thelma I think. I understand all too well her mother's urging of "being careful" yet appreciate that she doesn't forbid Frances to play with Thelma and lets her learn things for herself. I think I like this a bit better than some of the other Frances books. It's a fun series overall.
Caroline Petty
Dec 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: morals
This was always one of my favorite books growing up. It's very fun and gets children to think about telling the truth and actually doing things because you gave your word that you would. It lets us know that doing the right thing may be hard sometimes but we will be respected in the long run if we do.
Apr 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely adore this book. It reminds me so of growing up making mud pies and having tea parties with a "real china tea set with pictures on it in blue" (the kind with "trees and birds and a Chinese house and a fence and a boat and people walking on a bridge"). Mostly it reminds me of playing with my next-door neighbor and best friend. We still laugh fifty years later about "no backsies".
Amy Lou
Mar 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-lit
This is one of the first books I remember ordering from the book order at school. I ordered the copy with a record and listened to it over and over and over. I think I had every Frances book/record available. It had a chime to signal when to turn the page. That would be a great download to use for text message alerts now! :-)
A parent's request this morning reminded me of this gem. Frances finally gets tired of how Thelma manipulates her, and asks a question along the lines of: "Do you want to be careful, or do you want to be friends." An excellent jumping-off point for discussing young "mean girl" dynamics.
Nov 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-s
My favorite Frances book (and that is saying a lot)! I remember reading this book as a child and clearly thinking that Thelma was a rotten sneak. I very much understood the reasons why Frances would covet a real china tea set with pictures on it in blue.
Laura Lee
Sep 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Frances the badger from way back, as a little girl. She's a happy little badger with a best friend named Thelma and a little sister named Gloria. Frances loves to have tea parties. This particular story is how Frances gets her latest tea set. Lesson: don't trick your friends.
Michelle Couey
Jan 18, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beginner-readers
really enjoyed this book about catty girls and the relationship that they share. I remember making mud pies and friends to hang out with. No backsies is hilarious and when frances turns the table on her friend I chuckled..I have to read this to my Sydney she will love it!
Jan 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: beginner-reader
Frances is warned (by her mom) to be careful when playing with Thelma. Francess is tricked into buying Thelma's ugly plastic teaset. Francess finds a way to be friends instead. Sweet story about how it's nicer to be friends rather that to be careful.
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picturebooks
This is an EXCELLENT book. I can't believe I never read it before today! I have long loved Bread and Jam for Frances, and now I love this one too. Frances is a badger. I can't read a Frances book without remembering that.
Nov 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids
This book is so clever! More of a girl book, so the rating is mine and not Talmage's. Frances is tricked by a friend into an unfair trade. But Frances has a very clever way of remedying the situation!
Jun 29, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: parents reading to young children
Shelves: childrens, 2007
Timeless story about friendship and the wiles of young girls - another great story from my childhood! I love it when I can share books with our girls that I read in my own childhood.
Mar 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A story that reminds us that sometimes we have to be careful about who our friends are and that we should forgive and forget like children.
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read this book as a child in the seventies and its stuck in my head. love it.
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: children
This is one of my favorite books from childhood. Maybe I just love it because it is all about a tea set, but I really like the lesson, too.
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Russell Conwell Hoban was an American expatriate writer. His works span many genres, including fantasy, science fiction, mainstream fiction, magical realism, poetry, and children's books. He lived in London, England, from 1969 until his death. (Wikipedia)
More about Russell Hoban...

Other Books in the Series

Frances the Badger (7 books)
  • Bedtime for Frances
  • A Baby Sister for Frances
  • Bread and Jam for Frances
  • A Birthday for Frances
  • Best Friends for Frances
  • Egg Thoughts and Other Frances Songs