A clever friend (and former Guest Mom here at Design Mom) announced her pregnancy via blog the other day. Her’s was one of 4 exciting announcements I read last week — something in the water? Anyway. She’s having a girl and considering some lovely names, one of which is Frances. I love the name Frances! So in honor of this wonderful name, today I’m featuring the wonderful book: A Bargain For Frances, by Russell Hoban. Illustrated by Lillian Hoban.

I’m just going to copy the summary right from the publisher: Frances and Thelma are best friends — most of the time. When Frances goes to Thelma’s house for a tea party, Mother says, “Be careful. When you play with Thelma you always get the worst of it.” But Frances isn’t careful and her good friend Thelma sells her an old plastic tea set, when Frances really wants a new china one with pretty blue pictures. Worst of all, there are no backsies! But with some clever thinking, Frances ends up getting the best of a bad bargain.

This book was my first introduction to Frances, but my sister-in-law Erin has more extensive Frances experience and assures me every story is worthwhile. What I really like about this book is that it deals with one of life’s harsh realities — friends that are sometimes jerks — in such a graceful, no nonsense way. Maybe it’s because of the era in which it was written, but there’s something not quite politically correct about it. No one explains away the bad behavior of the friend with a description about her upbringing.

Originally published I’m not sure when, this book was reissued in large format last March.