Bread and Jam for Frances
Goodreads ratings
4.2 / 5

"Bread and Jam for Frances" Summary

By Russell Hoban

picture books | 32 pages | Published in NaN


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A picky eater learns to appreciate a wider variety of foods.


In "Bread and Jam for Frances" by Russell Hoban, readers are taken on a delightful journey with Frances, a lovable badger who is quite picky when it comes to food. This charming children's book explores themes of friendship, compromise, and the joy of trying new things. With its engaging storyline and relatable characters, "Bread and Jam for Frances" is a timeless classic that has captured the hearts of readers for decades.

Brief Synopsis

Frances is a young badger who has developed a strong preference for eating only bread and jam. She refuses to try any other foods, much to the concern of her parents. Frances' obsession with this particular combination becomes a source of frustration for her family, as they try to introduce her to a variety of nutritious meals. However, Frances remains steadfast in her love for bread and jam.

The story is set in a cozy home, where Frances interacts with her family and friends. As the plot unfolds, Frances realizes that her limited diet is causing her to miss out on the joys of experiencing new flavors and the social aspect of sharing meals with others. Through a series of events, Frances learns valuable lessons about compromise and the importance of trying new things.

Main Characters

FrancesThe main protagonist, a young badger who loves bread and jam. She is stubborn and resistant to trying new foods.
Frances' ParentsFrances' caring parents who are concerned about her limited diet. They attempt to introduce her to new foods and encourage her to be more open-minded.
Frances' FriendsVarious animal friends who enjoy a wide range of foods and try to persuade Frances to expand her culinary horizons.

Summary of Different Story Points

Chapter 1: Frances' Food Preference

Frances declares her love for bread and jam, refusing to eat anything else. Her parents try to reason with her, but she remains stubborn. Her mother suggests that if she continues to eat only bread and jam, she will turn into bread and jam!

Chapter 2: Frances' Lunch Dilemma

Frances brings her usual lunch of bread and jam to school, while her friends enjoy a variety of packed lunches. She starts to feel left out and wonders if she should try something new. However, she still resists the temptation.

Chapter 3: Albert's Delicious Lunch

Albert, Frances' friend, brings a delicious lunch to school. Frances is intrigued and asks if she can taste it. After trying a bite, she realizes that she enjoys the taste and decides to explore other flavors.

Chapter 4: Frances' Culinary Adventures

Frances begins to sample different foods, discovering new favorites along the way. She tries eggs, chicken, and even spaghetti. Her parents are thrilled to see her embracing a more diverse diet, and Frances realizes the joy of sharing meals with loved ones.

Chapter 5: Frances' Surprise for Her Friends

Frances decides to surprise her friends with a special meal she prepared herself. She invites them over and serves a variety of dishes, showcasing her newfound love for different foods. Her friends are delighted, and Frances feels proud of her culinary skills.

Main Events

  1. Frances stubbornly insists on eating only bread and jam, leading to concerns from her parents.
  2. Frances feels left out when her friends enjoy diverse lunches at school.
  3. Frances tries a bite of Albert's lunch and realizes she enjoys the taste of different foods.
  4. Frances starts exploring a wider range of foods and discovers new favorites.
  5. Frances surprises her friends with a homemade meal, showcasing her new culinary skills.

Themes and Insights

Theme 1: Friendship and Acceptance

The book highlights the importance of friendship and acceptance. Frances' friends are supportive and encourage her to try new foods. Through their influence, Frances realizes that being open to new experiences can enhance her relationships and bring her closer to others.

Theme 2: The Joy of Trying New Things

Frances initially clings to her preferred food, missing out on the joy of discovering new flavors. As she expands her culinary horizons, she experiences the excitement and satisfaction that come from trying new foods. This theme encourages readers to embrace new experiences and step outside their comfort zones.

Theme 3: Compromise and Flexibility

Frances' journey teaches her the value of compromise and flexibility. She learns that it is okay to have preferences, but being open to new things can enrich her life. This theme encourages children to be adaptable and open-minded, fostering healthy relationships and personal growth.

Reader's Takeaway

"Bread and Jam for Frances" is a heartwarming story that teaches children the importance of friendship, compromise, and trying new things. Through Frances' journey, readers are reminded of the joy that comes from embracing new experiences and the value of being open-minded. The book's relatable characters and engaging storyline make it an enjoyable read for children and adults alike.


"Bread and Jam for Frances" by Russell Hoban is a beloved children's book that has stood the test of time. With its engaging plot, relatable characters, and valuable life lessons, this story continues to captivate readers of all ages. Frances' journey from a picky eater to an adventurous food lover serves as an inspiration for children to explore new flavors and embrace new experiences. Through its themes of friendship, compromise, and the joy of trying new things, "Bread and Jam for Frances" remains a cherished classic in children's literature.

Bread and Jam for Frances FAQ

  1. Who is the author of Bread and Jam for Frances?

    The author of Bread and Jam for Frances is Russell Hoban.

  2. What is the main theme of Bread and Jam for Frances?

    The main theme of Bread and Jam for Frances is the importance of trying new foods and having a balanced diet.

  3. What is the story about?

    Bread and Jam for Frances is about a young badger named Frances who only wants to eat bread and jam. Through various encounters and experiences, Frances learns to appreciate a wider variety of foods.

  4. What age group is this book suitable for?

    Bread and Jam for Frances is suitable for children aged 3 to 7 years old.

  5. Is this book part of a series?

    Yes, Bread and Jam for Frances is part of the Frances series written by Russell Hoban.

  6. Are there any illustrations in the book?

    Yes, Bread and Jam for Frances features charming illustrations by Lillian Hoban.

  7. Is there a moral lesson in the story?

    Yes, the story of Bread and Jam for Frances teaches children the importance of trying new things and being open to new experiences.

  8. Is this book available in multiple languages?

    Yes, Bread and Jam for Frances has been translated into multiple languages, including Spanish, French, and German.

  9. Is there a sequel to Bread and Jam for Frances?

    No, there is no direct sequel to Bread and Jam for Frances, but there are other books in the Frances series that feature the same characters.

  10. Can adults enjoy reading this book too?

    Yes, Bread and Jam for Frances is a delightful book for both children and adults to enjoy.