cover image Frances Takes a Chance

Frances Takes a Chance

Ilene Cooper / Author Random House Books for Young Readers $2.

Two upbeat stories launch the Frances in the Fourth Grade series. In the first book, Frances takes a chance on a new haircut, a new best friend and a new image. As the girl becomes friends with confident, brash Polly Brock, she begins to realize the importance of standing up for herself. In the second book, Frances becomes even more courageous. She takes ballet lessons for the first time, plays a part in the school holiday pageant and boldly comes to the aid of her best friend. Frances is a cheerful, likable protagonist, who, though well-intentioned, often gets into trouble. Frances's relationships with her siblings, parents and peers are typical, but the unexpected friendship between Frances and Polly is fresh and entertaining. Cooper ( Choosing Sides ; Queen of the Sixth Grade ) creates a winning balance between Frances's home life and fourth grade year; readers will easily identify with both domestic and school experiences. Ages 8-11. (July)