Saturday, September 2, 2017

Doll-A-Day 2017 #244: Francis

This is why having a store of photos and prewritten posts comes in handy. I was super busy all day today, from early this morning to late tonight. Alas I had nothing photographed. So this is a quick post,highlighting a small doll I feel great affection for. She's Francis.

This little Francis is only 4" tall.
Francis is the subject of a series of books written by Russell Hoban,and illustrated by his wife Lillian.

Like all of Lillian Hoban's characters,she has a cute little face. Lillian illustrated many of Russell's books, and went on to write and illustrate her own books as well. Russell and Lillian were responsible for "Emmett Otter's Jug Band Christmas", a 'Gift of the Magi" type story. Some of you may be familiar with the Muppet TV special of 'Emmett Otter'.

When Emma was little she loved Francis. We read all the Francis Books.
Francis has no opening in he dress, but it can be pulled over her head. As you can see,Francis is a badger.

This may look weird,but it's part of Francis' secret.

But what Emma probably doesn't even realize, is how much Francis is nostalgia times two for me. Not only does she take me back to Emma's childhood, but she takes me back to special memories of my own childhood.
She's copyright Harper Collins Publishers.

Back in my day, young whipper snappers,Kindergarten was optional. My mother asked me if I wanted to go to Kindergarten, and I responded with a resounding NO without a thought. I did NOT want to go to school. (And my opinion never changed!) So I started school with first grade, at six and a half years old. My mom had already taught me my alphabet, and how to write it,and I had memorized my favourite book, but I couldn't read. My early days of first grade were when reading became a part of my life. (After it did I couldn't be separated from reading materials of any kind. I craved reading. Summer in the middle of nowhere with nothing to read drove me crazy.) I don't remember where the books came from. We had no library in my small, four classroom schoolhouse, and I don't remember the Bookmobile visiting until at least second grade, when I moved to the big school. We had some books in our classroom, but somehow I feel some of the books I brought home came from somewhere else. In any case,we were allowed to bring two books home,and keep them for a week. Before I got very good at reading I sometimes had trouble getting my books read before they were due back. In that case, Mom would sit down with me the night before the books were due back, and help me get through the book so I could turn it in the next day. She didn't read it to me. She only helped me read it. One such book was "Bread and Jam for Francis".

 I remember Mom and I labouring over that one for ages, with the glow of the lamps making our living room cozy. There seems to have been a book about dinosaurs at one point too, but I don't remember much about it. I do remember Francis though. When I came across "Bread and Jam for Francis ", when Emma was small, I had to get it and read it to her. (She was still far too young to read herself,but we started reading together when she was just a baby.) And that's where her love of Francis started. So when I see this little Francis,it makes me think of  Emma, and my mom and I reading "Bread and Jam...".

Surprise! Francis is a finger puppet!
See you tomorrow for Shrunken Saturday.


  1. I love this doll! I have always loved Francis and did not know a doll existed! I may try to find one or make one of my own. Thank you for sharing!!

    1. Good luck. I hope you find one. I have never seen another,but I'm sure they're out there somewhere. 1996 Harper Collins is the only copyright information I an find on her.


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