Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Bargain for Frances

A Bargain for Frances

Russell Hoban
Illustrator:   Lillian Hoban 
For ages 4 to 6
HarperCollins, 2003   ISBN: 978-0064440011

Frances is going to Thelma's house to play. Before she leaves, Frances' mother warns her little badger daughter to "be careful" because every time Frances plays with Thelma she always gets "the worst of it." At first all goes well between the two little girl badgers. They make a mud cake and set up a wonderful tea party for their dolls and stuffed animals. As they sip, Thelma and Frances chat and Frances tells Thelma that she is saving up her allowance to buy a real china tea set.

Then Thelma insists that a plastic tea set is much better than a china one, and before Frances knows what is happening Thelma has sold Frances her own plastic tea set with the proviso that there are "no backsies."

Back at home Frances cannot help regretting her purchase. How on earth did she get conned into buying something that she did not really want? The problem is that Thelma insisted on "no backsies." If only there was a way to get Thelma to buy back her old plastic tea set.

As they read this story young readers will find it almost impossible not to smile when they see how Thelma and Frances try to outdo one another. At the same time, they will see how a really sound friendship can overcome these kinds of problems, when friends are willing to set aside their differences and move on.