Trustful badger Frances triumphs in her I Can Read debut, to the chagrin of out-maneuvered Thelma and the accompaniment of some of her best songs: "Careful once, careful twice,/ Being careful isn't nice./ Being friends is better." Her mother had warned her that "when you play with Thelma you always get the worst of it," but Frances' resolve to save for a real china tea set yields to Thelma's dire tale of "another girl who saved up for that tea set. . . So maybe you won't get one." So maybe she'd better buy Thelma's plastic one with her two dollars and seventeen cents. . . and "No backsies." But little sister Gloria's friend got the very set Frances wanted at the candy store yesterday, and showed it to Thelma--who is next seen, by a crushed Frances, purchasing one with Frances' savings. "Now that plastic's what I've got/ Backsies are what there is not./ Mother told me to be careful,/ But Thelma better bewareful." Of one of the oldest tricks in any book, the decoy coin. A contretemps that bespeaks an older Frances as befits the older audience and will keep any audience in stitches--it's that funny line after line.