Why Lemony?
(the “About Me” page)

February 09, 2004

children's book magic

I picked up 'Bread and Jam for Frances' by Russell Hoban and Lillian Hoban (Illus.) at Zivar's house and read it to Georgia and Billy. It's a great book that I haven't read since I was a child about a family of very human-like badgers and their daughter who only wants to eat bread and jam. She likes the predictability of taste and doesn't want to eat any other foods. There' some great parenting here, as the parents deal with her by letting her try eating bread and jam all the time. She eventually gets sick of it and asks to eat spaghetti and meatballs like everyone else at dinner. But the great thing about this book for me are the school lunch scenes. Frances' friend Andrew brings out a very elaborate lunch when she just has bread and jam. He's got a fancy sandwich and a pickle and soup and a hard boiled egg and a 'little cardboard salt shaker for the egg' and a cup of custard and I don't remember what all. He sets all the parts out carefully and then takes a bite of each thing carefully so that they would all come out even and be finished at the same time. At the end, when Frances folds and is willing to eat more than bread and jam, Frances' mom packs her a lunch to rival Andrew's, complete with a little vase of violets and a doily to put it all on, and she sets it all out carefully and takes bites of each thing so they will all come out even too. When I read this part, I realized that I used to do this whenever I got a plate full of all really great things, like a turkey dinner or something. And I still do it sometimes now. And here's the origin of that- it's from Frances! I think this is also where I got my fascination with arranging groups of small things in a pleasing way. When I was little, I used to collect little tiny things like tea sets and little rocks and glass animals and arrange them into little scenes on top of my dresser. When I was a teenager I got embarrassed about that and gave it all away (I would have thrown it away had mom not asked to keep them for me). But I recently started a collection of little bobble-headed animals that I have hot-glued to my dashboard. It is very pleasing to me and I'm happy to be just a little more how I want to be.

Posted by Bahiyyih at February 9, 2004 09:57 AM

Dear Bahiyyih and Bill:

You both write exceedingly well and I loved the Buddha and the stories that Bill tells that he makes up. Do keep up the writing and maybe youll be able to make a living that way sometime. Its great to be able to keep up with you this way. Sounds like the NY trip was a great success. Thanks

Posted by: Patty at February 10, 2004 07:43 PM

I forgot to say that the Frances books were favorites of my kids in their youth. Love the story about bread and jam.

Posted by: Patty at February 10, 2004 07:45 PM

Thanks Grandma! I'm so glad to be keeping in touch with you too, with more than the occasional phone call (that you make!). Please tell us how you are doing too, if you don't mind everyone reading it. How's the winter going for you? What's the first thing you're going to do in your garden this year?

Posted by: Bahiyyih at February 11, 2004 02:28 PM


I do the same thing with my food when I am eating a lot of different things that I like. But, when I have a few things that I don't like, but have to eat anyway, I eat them first, so that I can have the yummy things to be the last taste in my mouth!

Posted by: lizzy at February 15, 2004 09:57 AM