Bread and Jam for Frances – Russell Hoban

More in the Series – Frances
“More in the Series” scores the other books in a series where one (or more) of the books have made it into the 1001 Books list. Mostly because I’m a bit of a completionist. 

POINTS: 6 out of 10.

Bechdel: 1 point
Variety of characters: 1 point
Good story: 2 points
Discretionary ideological points: 1 point

It is no secret by now that I love the Frances books. Frances is an awesome little heroine, and her parents are surprisingly humorous and competent for a kids’ book. (It is constantly astonishing to me how many parents in children’s books have to be totally useless to let the story progress! But that’s a discussion for a different time.)

This book is no exception. Frances becomes very attached to eating bread and jam to the exclusion of all else. Her parents try to convince her that trying new things is good, to no avail. Her friend Albert, who loves food, is cheerfully supportive of her bread and jam devotion.

But then her rather smart parents pull a classic reverse psychology trick and start giving her only bread and jam, removing all choice. While her baby sister gets to have a poached egg for breakfast, like their parents, Frances gets bread and jam. She gets bread and jam in her lunchbox. She gets bread and jam for her afternoon snack. Then at dinner everyone else gets spaghetti and meatballs, and Frances gets bread and jam, and it all gets too much for her and she gives in and declares that maybe she should try things to find out if she likes them after all.

Getting kids to try new things is a pretty well-known parental quest, and this book handles it with aplomb and humour. As the parent of a fussy eater, it was a great pleasure to me when C’s response was, “She has to try it, doesn’t she, Mommy?”. Yes, my darling, and I’ll remind you of that at dinner time. 😉

Frances’ family is pretty quintessentially British, but having a young female protagonist with Frances’ humour and intelligence and creativity is a pleasure. Again, this is not a ‘book for girls’ it is simply a book with a girl in it, if you see my distinction. It’s pretty great that the series continues to live up to the promise of the early books.

Good stuff.

What do you think? Fan of Frances? Do you know of other books that deal with the problems of fussy eaters well?

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