Saturday, March 12, 2011

A Birthday for Frances

A Birthday for Frances. Russell Hoban. Illustrated by Lillian Hoban. 1968/1995. HarperCollins. 32 pages.

It was the day before Frances's little sister Gloria's birthday. Mother and Gloria were sitting at the kitchen table, making place cards for the party. Frances was in the broom closet singing:
Happy Thursday to you,
Happy Thursday to you,
Happy Thursday, dear Alice,
Happy Thursday to you.
"Who is Alice?" asked Mother.
"Alice is somebody that nobody can see," said Frances. "And that is why she does not have a birthday. So I am singing Happy Thursday to her." 
"Today it is Friday," said Mother.
"It is Thursday for Alice," said Frances.
"Alice will not have h-r-n-d, and she will not have g-k-l-s. But we are singing together."
"What are h-r-n-d and g-k-l-s?" asked Mother.
"Cake and candy. I thought you could spell," said Frances.
"I am sure that Alice will have cake and candy on her birthday," said Mother.
"But Alice does not have a birthday," said Frances.
"Yes, she does," said Mother. "Even if nobody can see her, Alice has one birthday every year, and so do you. Your birthday is two months from now. Then you will be the birthday girl. But tomorrow is Gloria's birthday, and she will be the birthday girl." 
"That is how it is, Alice," said Frances. "Your birthday is always the one that is not now."

I just LOVE and ADORE A Birthday for Frances. It is Gloria's birthday. And Frances decides--a bit reluctantly--that she should buy something for her baby sister with her allowance. She decides on one Chompo bar (chocolate bar) and four gumballs. But it isn't easy for Frances to keep her mind made up. The more she thinks about it, the more she thinks that she should keep the Chompo bar for herself. The gumballs, well, they already met their fate. By accident, Frances claims. Will Gloria receive a Chompo bar for her birthday? Or will Frances be selfish and eat it herself?!

This book has the delightful Chompo Bar song in it:
Chompo Bars are nice to get.
Chompo Bars taste better yet
When they're someone else's.
I would definitely recommend this one. Do you have a favorite Frances book?


© 2011 Becky Laney of Young Readers

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