Bedtime for Frances

by Russell Hoban

Hardcover, 1960



Call number




Harpercollins (1960)


Frances finds it difficult to go to sleep with the strange noises and menacing shapes that seem to fill her room after dark.

User reviews

LibraryThing member hartn
Bedtime for Frances, by Russell Hoban, pictures by Garth Williams. Harper & Row, 1960.

Similar to Olivia, Bedtime for Frances is a book that offers a space to work out and expand on that time of day for young children that is so difficult to settle into. The illustrations, while only black, white
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and green, are very inviting and Frances is very happy throughout the story. His parents repeat everything as he prepares for bedtime and all the dialogue in the story is given authorship by the narrator, which is a further repetition that slows the reading of the story. The story has two movements – the struggle to get Frances in bed and the struggle to keep him there. The story is successful in both encouraging Frances’ imagination and guiding it to the positive:

“ ‘There is a tiger in my room’ said Frances.
‘Did he bite you?’ said Father.
‘No,’ said Frances.
‘Did he scratch you?’ said Mother.
‘No,’ said Frances.
‘Then he is a friendly tiger,’ said Father. ‘He will not hurt you. Go back to sleep.’

One thing to watch out for is the threat of a spanking from Father as the only real success that puts Frances to sleep, which may not sit well with some parents. As for an overall tone or message, it is unclear and somewhat dubious – especially in light of the power the threat of physical violence from the Father wields in the story.
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LibraryThing member eurbanowicz
Frances does not want to go to bed, and comes up with a litany of familiar excuses for why she shouldn't sleep. RESPONSE: I was looking up the author on Amazon, and was shocked by how many negative responses to this book there were. Apparently historically-accurate mentions of spanking traumatize
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children. (That was sarcastic.) I loved this book, it was sweet and cute. Father Badger wasn't frightening at all, and spanking was just a fact of life. THEMES/CONCEPTS: Bedtime, obedience
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LibraryThing member hnnewton
It is bedtime for Frances and she keeps making up excuses not to go to bed. Eventually her daddy tells her that if she doesn't get any sleep she will not do well in school the next day. This book can teach children that if you don't do your job, their can be consequences for your actions.
LibraryThing member SeriousGrace
Simply put, it is a cute little story about a badger that can't fall asleep. She finds many reasons to stay awake: she needs kisses from her parents, she needs another glass of water, she hears a monster, and she sees a monster. The list goes on and on. This isn't a badger only phenomenon. I had
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the same problem.
As an adult, I obviously now identified more with the parents who wanted to eat their cake, drink their tea and watch television in peace. In the end Frances fell asleep despite having a real life distraction to really keep her awake. It's a cute book, though.
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LibraryThing member lauraejensen
A story we all relate to, bed time blues, the need for just one more hug, and of course, spiders and giants! This is a sweet story, inviting, and energetic. There is the looming threat of spanking, which the teacher may want to, er, edit.
LibraryThing member sroeck
Great first easy reader. Sentences are repeated and the words are easy that most kids will know. The pictures are simple and monochromatic but add to the story by showing just enough details. Plus this is a subject everyone understands; not wanting to go to bed
LibraryThing member allawishus
Frances is so adorable - I want to reach through the pages and stroke her sweet head! In this one you also get to see her father's sweet grumpiness shine through. I remember when I was a child that bedtime could be very terrifying. I was so afraid of sleeping alone, but I forget why, really. But
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anyway, bedtime was a source of great anxiety for me, so I probably identified with Frances a lot when I read this as a child. As an adult, it's a fairly rote "are there monsters under the bed?" story, but it's elevated by the illustrations which convey a good sense of a child's smallness and hesitancy when confronting her fears.
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LibraryThing member mcivalleri
I don't know. The moral of the story here seems to be "if you don't do what your parents tell you, regardless of your feelings, you will be spanked". I'm not sure that's the best thing to end a story around. I was liking it until it took that turn, though. One line is a favorite of mine, that
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describes how quiet the girl is as she stands quietly by her dad's bed, and goes:
"She was so quiet that she was the quietest thing in the room". I thought "boy, that's pretty quiet". It is a cute story, and addresses a big fear of kids (what goes bump in the night, and not getting to sleep) but you have to decide how you feel about the spanking issue!
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LibraryThing member hnebeker
This is a really great book to help with children who have a hard time with going to bed because of fears of the dark. However, in my opinion, it is not so great for children who don't have any issues with the dark because I have honestly experienced children using "scary noises" as an excuse after
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being read this book. (not the fault of the author of course) but overall I think this is yet another lovely chapter in the life of precocious Frances.
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LibraryThing member chelsiking
Francis is very uncomfortable & scared to go to bed. He experiences things that are very common for young children & is a great book to read & night to comfort any fears.
LibraryThing member xuesheng
Cute book about Frances and her adventures with her mother and father while going to bed. The story mentions spanking, but this is my 6 year old daughter's favorite part, and she laughs every time.
LibraryThing member mix002
My daughter loved this when she was little so it is a favorite of mine
LibraryThing member BenjaminHahn
I really like the drawings of the parent badgers in this book. I really think this book was illustrated more for frustated parents rather than children who can't get to sleep. Good job Mr. Williams.
LibraryThing member satyridae
This is such a wonderful, wonderful book! I got to read it out loud to someone who had never met Frances before. At bedtime. The text is brilliant, the illustrations delightful. And there are threatened spankings, which one can hardly find in a book for small people any more. I love Frances'
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parents with all my heart.

Everyone should have a copy of this on hand, just in case.
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LibraryThing member dukefan86
This is a sweet story! Having trouble going to bed is something children and parents (and babysitters) can relate to!
LibraryThing member auntieknickers
Frances the Badger was one of the favorite characters of our children's childhood books. Her intelligence, creativity, and rebellious spirit struck a chord in both parents and children in our family. Very highly recommended!
LibraryThing member jjones58
I really, really liked this story. Everything about it just has (for lack of better words) a sense of simplicity and cuteness. I know I can personally relate to Frances as a young child and her unwillingness to go to sleep. Her requests for more milk and kisses is absolutely adorable and made my
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heart melt. The pictures are simply yet follow the storyline perfectly. The main message is slightly vague in this story but perhaps it could be to help children understand the point of bedtime and it can be read to them before bed to make them feel less afraid of the typical nighttime terrors little children fear.
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LibraryThing member empress8411
I enjoy the Frances books. She's hilarious. Her imagination, her songs, her questions - clever and childlike and fun. I highly recommend!
LibraryThing member peyrobs
This is an adorable little story about Frances who finds every reason to not go to sleep. She goes through the alphabet and says something that goes with that letter. She then gets afraid of things in her room and has her parents helping her try to go to sleep.
LibraryThing member NMiller22
Frances finds it difficult to go to sleep with the strange noises and menacing shapes that seem to fill her room after dark.
LibraryThing member fuzzi
Frances keeps finding excuses to not go to bed, or fall asleep. She reminds me of my own children at a young age. A delightful read, wonderful pictures, highly recommended for young and old.


Original language


Original publication date



0060223510 / 9780060223519

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