Oh, we do love the Frances books, Megan and I. Little Frances gets mentioned frequently in our conversations, as if she were a personal friend. We know all about her sister Gloria, how many ways little ones can delay going to bed, what it feels like to be tricked by your friend over a tea set, and all the marvelous little songs one can come up with one is feeling blue or happy or creative or mystified or… really, there is no time that is NOT right for a little snippet of a song.

We also know that it is best to parent together with our husbands, to remain firm yet loving in our mothering, to delight in our children, and that sometimes tea and cake at night with aforementioned husbands is the best way to end an evening. We know that young children love to make up songs, often have imaginary friends, and that navigating the relationships between family and friends can be tough…. Life lessons from Frances! We could wax eloquent–and Frances deserves another post, to be sure. But for Picture Book Month Celebration, we will reign ourselves in.

The creator of these delightful picture books is Russell Hoban. Sadly Hoban, like so many this past year, passed away almost a year ago. There is a nice little write up in the New York Times on his life and career (which included much more than his Frances books even though he’s most well known for those).

The first Frances book, Bedtime for Frances, was illustrated by none other than Garth Williams (who also illustrated the likes of Charlotte’s Web, Little  House on the Prairie, The Rescuers, The Golden Book of Fairies and Elves, and many, many others).

But the next six Frances books were illustrated by Hoban’s wife, Lillian. And so we’ll lavish our affections on them as a couple and celebrate their literary child, Frances, in all her delightful whimsy. If you have not met Frances, or if it’s been a while since you spent some time with her, we urge you to remedy that ASAP. These are books which libraries keep on hand since they continue to delight youngsters year after year. I read Bedtime for Frances to my own three recently–first time in quite some time. They begged me to reread it as soon as I was done and laughed delightedly–and with much empathy–at Frances’s bedtime dallying. These are also some of the books I delight to own instead of merely borrow. They work well with preschool children, but I think the 4-7 age range really gets the most out of Frances because they are so like her themselves….

What is YOUR favorite Frances book?

cover images from goodreads

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