Bread and Jam, Peanut Butter and Pepperoni, Whatever

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban. HarperCollins, 1964.

Engaging the child within everyday family life. The lyrical text is sweet and gentle, reminding me of Rosemary Wells, and with it, Russell uncovers everyday details to engage the world of a child. The sorts of details that may drive a parent batty, but get at how closely children observe aspects of the world that appeal to or interest them. There is a deep understanding of a child’s inner workings: making foods come out even, “How do you know what I’ll like if you won’t even try me?” Through some smart reverse psychology, mother ends the bread and jam fixation, proving that suddenly removing options make those options all the more appealing. Smart, sweet, funny all at once.

I remember seeing an interview (on PBS perhaps?) with Russell Hoban when I was a girl. He talked about how many times he rewrote a book before he was "done" with it - something like one hundred? It shocked and horrified me. Though now that I'm working on picture books in this MFA, I'd say he's about right. Goodness, how many times will I have to rewrite my Appalachian dialect book? Until it's right.

Oh, and right now Mud Pie is on a peanut butter and pepperoni kick. I think I could stomach bread and jam a little better.