A Bargain for Frances an I Can Read

by Russell Hoban

Other authorsLillian Hoban (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1970



Call number




Weekly Reader Books (1970), Edition: An I Can Read Book. Book Club Ed., 63 pages


Thelma usually outsmarts Frances until Frances decides to teach her a lesson about friendship.

User reviews

LibraryThing member allawishus
Frances likes to play with her friend Thelma, but her mother reminds her that whenever she plays with Thelma, she ends up hurt in some way. Frances goes to Thelma's anyway and ends up being suckered into buying Thelma's plastic tea set. Instead of crying about it or getting her parents involved,
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Frances comes up with a relatively crafty way to get her money back and buy what she really wanted in the first place.

This was an interesting take on childhood friendships. "Do you want to be careful, or do you want to be friends?" Frances asks Thelma - that's actually a kind of profound statement about frienships. Especially since most dramas in friendship can't be resolved as easily as they are in this book!

I will credit the author with not shying away from showing the (sometimes) selfishness and meanness of children! My only complaint about the illustrations is that it's hard to distinguish between Frances and Thelma.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Frances’ friend Thelma tricks her into trading her money for a plastic tea set and uses Frances’ money to buy the china set Frances really wants. Frances figures out she’s been tricked and comes up with a plan of her own- she tricks Thelma into trading back. Afterwards they talk and decide
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that it’s best to be friends and not trick one another.
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LibraryThing member susan.suihkonen
Frances gets tricked by her friend into buying a tea set that she doesn’t want.
LibraryThing member stharp
A fantasy due to the personification of Frances' badger family. I think this book is great to develop social skills. It also makes certain that there is a cohesive plot. The author creatively develops the friendship between both Thelma and Frances.
LibraryThing member mrsarey
Frances wants a new china tea set, but her friend convinces her to buy a plastic red one. Will they stay friends?
LibraryThing member hnnewton
Very cute book about learning how to play nice at a a young age. A great book to read when presenting a lesson on friendship and how to be a good friend.
LibraryThing member Cottonwood.School
Thelma usually outsmarts Frances until Frances decides to teach her a lesson about friendship.
LibraryThing member tiburon
Frances learns about economics and sharing in this adorable tale.
LibraryThing member hnebeker
Again, I really love the Frances books. The fact that some of them are "I can read" books proves my point that the subject matter is usually targeting children of a certain age: 6 to 7 or 8 year-olds. I think that Hoban is definitely a person who understands children and this particular episode in
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Frances's life shows that he acutely understands even the meaner, harsher sides some children have especially in their friendships. However, I think he has a soft way of making the stories humorous and educational at the same time. This is definitely one of the harsher stories but I have to say I remember relating to it quite well as a child myself.
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LibraryThing member conuly
Frances is visiting her friend Thelma. Now, Thelma is one of those kids... her mom WARNS her and WARNS her that every time she plays with Thelma, things end up badly for her. SHE is the one who falls in the lake skating (because Thelma wants her to go first). SHE is the one who gets bumps in her
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head from playing with a boomerang (because Thelma likes to throw it).

And this time, SHE is the one who gets cheated out of her saved-up money to get a CHINA tea set, and ends up with Thelma's old junky plastic one instead.

Frances finally turns the tables on Thelma, with a bit of a mean trick, I must say. Still and all, it works very well, and if Thelma hasn't learned her lesson we can only hope Frances has.
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LibraryThing member adaniel11
Genre: Fantasy/Realistic Fiction
Review: The author stays true to the genre of fantasy by creating a story that could not happen. This stroy follows Frances, a badger, as she struggles to be friends with another badger, Thelma. Frances must figure out who to make things work between them. This story
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also holds a little bit of realistic fiction because of the scenario that the badgers are dealing with. Every child, teen, adult at some point in their life has to deal with conflict and friendship.
Media: Watercolo
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LibraryThing member CMJohnson
This story is a wonderful story about friendship. Even when you step on each others toes, and trick one another, true friends are always friends. It is a cute book with a great moral story. It keeps you entertained throughout the book and you hope everything works out for all the characters.
LibraryThing member rpazmino-calligan
This book is great for children. It has a great moral lesson. Frances and Thelma are friends and when they both trick each other, they realize that being friends and fair and honest is best. It also has some math in it that could be worked into a lesson.
LibraryThing member sarahwarner329
I like this book for multiple reasons. First, I think the message of this story is wonderful. Frances, a badger, and her friend Thelma they trick each other about a tea set. They see that they have tricked one another and have come to the agreement that it is better to be friends than to have to be
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careful around one another. I like this message because it is very relatable to readers. Although the main characters are personified animals, I think their actions and conflict is one that any reader of any age can relate to because we all deal with conflicts throughout our lives.
Next I like the language use in the story. Most of the story is dialogue, which really brings the story to life. For example, when Thelma and Frances are confronting each other about tricking one another, I think it more effective to use actual dialogue, rather than stating that they confronted one another by talking. It puts reader in the perspective of the characters. Additionally, the author used rhyming poems/songs when Frances was talking to herself. I think using a rhyming tune is a very cute and interesting way to portray what Frances is thinking about her situation.
Overall I think this book has a wonderful message that is conveyed in a creative, fantasized way through animals.
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Original publication date



112732179X / 9781127321797

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