Kelly's Reviews > Bread and Jam for Frances

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
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's review
Jan 19, 2009

did not like it
bookshelves: fiction, picture-book

Text is way too long and not very interesting. I really don't need to know every single thing the main character's friend does to set up his lunch: "Albert took two napkins from his lunch box. He tucked one napkin under his chin. He spread the other one on his desk like a tablecloth. He arranged his lunch neatly on the napkin. With his spoon he cracked the shell of the hard-boiled egg. He peeled away the shell and bit off the end of the egg. He sprinkled salt on the yolk and set the egg down again. He unscrewed his thermos-bottle cup and filled it with milk. Then he was ready to eat his lunch."[return:][return:]And THEN the play-by-play account goes on for TWO more pages! If I was bored, just imagine how a kid with a super-short attention span would feel!

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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Iucounu (new)

Iucounu The play-by-play is to dramatize how enormously satisfied Albert is with his gourmet lunch - the grapes, the tangerine, the custard, the hard-boiled egg, the cream-cheese and cucumbers on rye, the simple pleasure of the whole thing - and how Frances, sitting there with her bread and jam, is maybe starting to think there's more to life than never being disappointed. It's a brilliant piece of writing; I got it as a kid, and as an adult I realise how difficult it was to pull off.
Once upon a time picture book texts would routinely be this length; they don't make 'em like they used to, and it's a shame.

Marla I agree whole-heartedly, lucounu! Albert is not just grabbing lunch, he's savoring a meal. And as Frances looks on, she's starting to get the feeling that she just might be missing out on something here. How satisifying at the end when she's finally able to savor her own meal of such delicious variety! Two thumbs up for Frances.

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