Today is My Wandering Day

Best Friends for Frances 1

Long before I had kids, I loved children’s books. “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”, “Yertle the Turtle”, “Green Eggs and Ham” – they all simply teach profound pieces of life.

Here’s an amazing conversation from a book I have read to my son 16 times in the past two days (transcription below images).

Best Friends for Frances 1

Best Friends for Frances 2

When Frances got to Albert’s house,
he was just coming out, and he was carrying
a large, heavy-looking brown paper bag.
“Let’s play baseball,” said Frances.
“I can’t,” said Albert. “Today is my wandering day.”
“Where do you wander?” said Frances.
“I don’t know,” said Albert. “I just go around
until I get hungry, and then I eat my lunch.”
“That looks like a big lunch,” said Frances.
“It’s nothing much,” said Albert. “Four or five
sandwiches and some apples and bananas
and two packages of cupcakes
and a quart of chocolate milk.”
“Can I wander with you?” asked Frances.
“I only have one lunch,” said Albert.
“I’ll bring my own,” said Frances.
“I’ll run home and get it right away.”
“No,” said Albert, “I think I better go by myself.
The things I do on my wandering days
aren’t things you can do.”
“Like what?” said Frances.
“Catching snakes,” said Albert. “Throwing stones
at telephone poles. A little frog work maybe.
Walking on fences. Whistling with grass blades.
Looking for crow feathers.”
“I can do all that,” said Frances,
“except for the frog work and the snakes.”
“That’s what I mean,” said Albert.
“I’d have to ruin the whole day, showing you how.
I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Then Albert went off to wander, and Frances
walked slowly home with her bat and ball.”

Excerpt from “Best Friends for Frances” by Russell and Lillian Hoban.

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  • Morgan Jassen December 9, 2016 at 10:06 am

    I like this too — seems because all three in the excerpt have a strong character, focused on their goals and are good to each other.

    Albert stays focused on wandering and exactly what that entails, Frances stays focused on finding a friend to play with, and Gloria stays focused on playing ball with Gloria.

    In the end it seems like it was a win-win-win for the characters, because they were focused yet flexible in their approch towards reaching their respective goals.

    • derek December 10, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      Morgan, great perspective. My focus has been primarily on Albert. I like your categorization of the other characters.