Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: A Bargain for Frances


A Bargain for Frances, written by Russell Hoban and illustrated by Lillian Hoban, teaches children about saving money, making choices, and purchasing carefully.  Frances is saving for a real china tea set with blue pictures painted on but her friend Thelma convinces Frances to buy her old plastic tea set by telling her that they don’t make real china tea sets anymore.  Then, Thelma takes the money and buys a china tea set like the one Frances had been saving for.  Frances cleverly figures out how to get Thelma to trade the new tea set for her old one.  This story has some valuable lessons for young children, not only about saving, purchasing, and making decisions but about being careful not to be tricked and about being respectful to friends.

Curriculum Connections

This book can be used in instruction to teach students about using money to purchase things (VA SOL K.7), making choices because you cannot have everything you want (VA SOL 1.8), and saving money to purchase things they want (VA SOL 1.9).

Additional Resources

  • In this interactive game, players earn and save enough money to Escape from Knab
  • Kids Bank teaches kids about money and banking in a fun, interactive way
  • Learn about the Birth of a Coin on the US Mint site

General Information

Book: A Bargain for Frances
Author: Russell Hoban
Illustrator: Lillian Hoban
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication date: 1970, 1992, 2008
Pages: 64
Grade Range: K-2
ISBN: 006444001X

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