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Frog and Toad Are Friends, 1970 ( Caldecott Honor Book) Frog and Toad Together, 1971 ( Newbery Honor Book) Frog and Toad All Year, 1976 Days with Frog and Toad, 1979

The Frog and Toad books, written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel, are part of a series of I CAN READ BOOKS , level 2, published by HarperTrophy. This means they are high interest chapter books written on a first to third grade reading level. These simple yet delightful books feature the adventures of The Odd Couple-esque best friends, Frog and Toad.

CHAPTER ONE Tomorrow Toad woke up. “Drat!” he said. “This house is a mess. I have so much work to do.” Frog looked through the window. “Toad, you are right,” said Frog. “It is a mess.” Toad pulled the covers over his head. “I will do it tomorrow,” said Toad. “Today I will take life easy.”

Days with Frog and Toad, pp. 4-5

These stories were a childhood favorite of mine, and one reason that I never read The Wind in the Willows; I already knew and loved a character named Toad, and had no interest in making the acquaintance of another. This Toad is short, round, impatient, and short-tempered but kind-hearted; despite his shortcomings, he’s a true blue friend. He likes to make lists and sleep late, and he’s embarrassed about how he looks in his bathing suit. Frog, on the other hand, is tall and thin, thoughtful and patient, good at finding things and gardening, cheerful and optimistic. If this is supposed to be symbolic of a parent/child pairing, Frog is the grown-up.

In spite of their differences, the two friends are inseparable. Throughout the books, they fly kites and go sledding, cheer each other when they are sick or afraid, plant gardens, share cookies and picnics, go on adventures and test their bravery. These stories are filled with love and silliness. The characters are well developed and infinitely likable, and the illustrations, ink sketches embellished with watercolor washes in greys, browns, and greens, catch perfectly the emotions and antics of these amphibian friends.

I’m not the only fan of Frog and Toad; a quick Google search tuned up a plethora of lesson plans—elementary school teachers apparently use these books to teach everything from writing dialogue 1 to mathematical sorting using Venn diagrams. 2 The Children’s Theatre Company in Minneapolis, MN. have even turned Frog and Toad into a musical. 3

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1 http://www.myschoolonline.com/page/0,1871,2123-126557-2-21006,00.html 2 http://www.askeric.org/Virtual/Lessons/Interdisciplinary/INT0024.html 3http://www.childrenstheatre.org/2003/frogtoad.html See also http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?endeca=1&ean=9780064440202

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