Bread and Jam for Frances


By Russell Hoban, Pictures by Lillian Hoban

Harper & Row, 1964

It was breakfast time and everyone was at the table. Father was eating his egg. Mother was eating her egg. Gloria was sitting in a high chair and eating her egg too. Frances was eating bread and jam…She did not eat her egg. She sang a little song to it: I do not like the way you slide,/I do not like your soft inside,/I do not like you lots of ways,/And I could do for many days/Without eggs.

Frances would surely make up a little ditty to celebrate the fact that A Bargain for Frances is by far the most popular post on this blog. For a badger approaching fifty, she holds up quite well. (Although the dust jacket of the library book pictured above has seen some better days.) Bread and Jam is my absolute, all-time, no-doubt-about-it Frances tale. When Frances decides she will only eat bread and jam and try no other foods, her mother frets at first. Then decides to accommodate her until Frances acquiesces, “What I am/Is tired of jam.” Every time I read this, I laugh aloud at Frances’ sly asides (see song above). And crave fresh bread with homemade raspberry preserves.

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