Friday, March 11, 2011

A Baby Sister for Frances

A Baby Sister for Frances. Russell Hoban. Illustrated by Lillian Hoban. 1964/1992. HarperCollins. 32 pages.

It was a quiet evening. Father was reading his newspaper. Mother was feeding Gloria, the new baby. Frances was sitting under the kitchen sink. She was singing a little song:
Plinketty, plinketty, plinketty, plink,
Here is the dishrag that's under the sink.
Here are the buckets and brushes and me,
Plinketty, plinketty, plinketty, plee.
She stopped the song and listened. Nobody said anything.

Frances is having a hard time adjusting to her new baby sister, Gloria. She's still Frances, an imaginative badger that loves to make up her own songs, but she's finding it harder and harder to be noticed by her busy parents. And her parents don't have as much time to devote to keeping things in the house flowing smoothly. Frances decides it may be best to run away.

After dinner that evening Frances packed her little knapsack very carefully. She put in her tiny special blanket and her alligator doll. She took all of the nickels and pennies out of her bank, for travel money, and she took her good luck coin for good luck. Then she took a box of prunes from the kitchen and five chocolate sandwich cookies.
"Well," said Frances, "it is time to say goodbye. I am on my way. Good bye."
"Where are you running away to?" said Father.
"I think that under the dining-room table is the best place," said Frances. "It's cozy and the kitchen is near if I run out of cookies."
"That is a good place to run away to," said Mother, "but I'll miss you."
"I'll miss you too," said Father.
"Well, said Frances, "good-bye," and she ran away. (12-13)

I enjoy this one. It's not my favorite Frances story--in fact, it's probably my least favorite--but that has more to do with the others being so great, so memorable.

© 2011 Becky Laney of Young Readers


  1. I just re-read this one this week as well. I had almost forgotten entirely about Gloria, and I didn't remember that there were any books where she was just a baby. I was never a huge Frances fan as a kid, but I find her little songs very amusing as an adult. I also thought this book could easily be paired with Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells, which was another childhood favorite of mine. Both books have the same mood.

    Great review, thanks for sharing!

  2. Of the six Frances books, this is the one that I always tend to forget. When I think of Gloria, I think of her as older--like in Birthday for Frances. When I reread it, I too thought of Noisy Nora. Noisy Nora is unforgettable!!!