Bedtime for Frances

Book review by
Ann Marie Sammataro, Common Sense Media
Bedtime for Frances Book Poster Image
Kids can empathize with bedtime troubles.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that deadpan delivery of humorous dialogue underscores the comedy of the situation. Witty illustrations are a perfect match for the lively story.

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What's the story?

Meet Frances, a young badger with a vivid imagination and a fondness for staying up late. Her loving but exasperated parents have a hard time getting her to bed. Russell Hoban's wry humor creates a bedtime situation most kids can sympathize with and most parents will recognize. Garth Williams's illustrations of snug domestic scenes have been updated in glowing color.

Is it any good?

Russell Hoban's knowledgeable and humorous take on the eternal bedtime battle explains this story's continuing appeal to kids and their weary parents. Young children respond to Frances' inventive (yet true-to-life) imaginings with laughter and sympathy. Ultimately, Frances is a role model for learning to work out anxieties on one's own.

The artwork of Garth Williams, who also illustrated Charlotte's Web, adds drama to every page. The pictures in this 1995 edition are newly colored in a bright palette of watercolors. Each scene is drawn with great detail and humor, whether it's Mother and Father tenderly tucking Frances into bed or Frances' bathrobe-giant lurking on a rocking chair.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about settling in for bed. Do you ever feel -- or sound -- like Frances? What helps you settle down for the night?

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