Frances in the country

Liz Garton Scanlon

Book - 2022

"A spirited girl visits her cousins in the country for a chance to break free from the clamor and crowd of life in the city."--

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Location Call Number   Status
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Picture books
New York : Holiday House [2022]
Main Author
Liz Garton Scanlon (author)
Other Authors
Sean Qualls (illustrator)
First edition
Item Description
"A Neal Porter book"
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
Ages 4 to 8
Grades K-1
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Frances is a Black girl who lives in the city but feels out of sorts in her bustling neighborhood, where she can't climb walls or slide down banisters, and the parks are always crowded. All she ever hears is "Look out!" "Stop!" and "Come back right this minute!" But when Frances visits her cousins in the country, she finds comfort in the spaces she can race, leap, and "go go go." While Scanlon's poetic text keeps a steady rhythm, Qualls' stylized collages change along with Frances, the mostly colorless city giving way to golden days on the cousins' farm. Although it's hard to say goodbye, Frances returns to the city with a renewed spirit and appreciation, as neighborhood musicians play, "city cats croon," and "city streets beep" against a backdrop of soothing purples and spiraling music. And when her mother says, "Come here, right this minute!" Frances happily accepts her mama's hug. In this beautiful, fresh take on city versus country life, readers are the winners.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Frances is a city kid, but the city/ never seems quite right for Frances." Her exuberance keeps running up against crowds, close quarters, and rules. "Frances tries to be good," writes Scanlon (I Want a Boat!) in plainspoken, rhythmic lines, "but it's hard when/ you're not supposed to climb or ride or/ race or shout." Visiting her cousins in the country, "Frances gets to/ go,/ go,/ go"--even the typography seems free, changing size and color with each "go." In wonderfully loose-limbed acrylic, collage, and pencil art, Qualls (Grandad Mandela) exults in the child's newfound freedom as she runs down country roads and dances in the rain; in a winning break-the-fourth-wall moment, she flashes the reader a million-watt smile. The trip also presents an opportunity for the family, all portrayed with brown skin, to reboot. Frances gains a new appreciation for city life (she's eager to show her cousins how "city cats croon/ and city alleys echo/ and city streets beep/ and shine"), while her mother and sisters realize that her enthusiasm energizes them (a Frances-less home and city "sit still"). Absence not only makes the heart grow fonder in this tribute to city, country, and family--it can be a source of fresh perspectives, too. Ages 4--8. Author's agent: Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator's agent: Holly McGhee, Pippin Properties. (June)

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A young city girl experiences the attractions of the countryside. Energetic Frances feels confined in her city home and struggles to obey the many rules of urban living. A much-appreciated trip to her cousins' farmhouse in the country allows Frances space to run and play. Frances and her two cousins splash in a pond, chase cats, race one another on quiet country roads, ride in a hay cart, and more. Back in the city, her mother and sister realize that life is rather dull without Frances around, and when she returns, although she no longer has the freedom of movement she experienced in the country, she is happy to be home where she belongs. The text's use of repetition creates a distinct rhythm that makes this a good choice for read-alouds. Qualls' signature textured illustrations, done in acrylic paint, collage, and pencil, elevate and add character to this simple tale, using a palette of light colors for the country scenes and darker colors for the city scenes. All characters are Black with skin tones in various shades of brown. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A familiar narrative about urban versus rural childhoods that's made fresh by distinct artwork. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.