Kumon Staff Pick: Bread and Jam for Frances
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
Illustrated by Lillian Hoban
Read Aloud Book for Level 3A
Grade Levels – K – 3
Why do you personally enjoy this book?
Chronicling young Frances’s culinary journey beyond her usual meal request, Bread and Jam for Frances features a warm family dynamic; realistic, engaging, and humorous dialog; and charming illustrations.
Why do you think children would enjoy this book?
Russell Hoban’s plot includes ideas generally understood by the very young, such as the reluctance to try new foods, having a younger sibling, and trading lunches with classmates. The close-knit badger family is represented with illustrations that are both winsome and expressive; children can easily determine the feelings of the characters (namely Frances) by simply looking at their faces. Perhaps the most endearing aspect of the story, however, is that Frances sings clever and whimsical songs to each of her meals, explaining exactly what about it she finds appealing…or not.
What skills and/or values might children gain by reading this book?
This title can work toward encouraging children to move outside of their comfort zone and explore new things (even if it is just spaghetti and meatballs). While this title focuses on food specifically, it can facilitate dialog about the possibility of taking on the unpredictable and unexpected, often leading to rewarding results and confidence in approaching the unknown.