Book: Days with Frog and Toad
Author: Arnold Lobel.
Overview: This series tells stories about two best friends, Frog and Toad, as they go through everyday life’s adventures. This book contains five stories. It is an “I can read level 2” book (reading with help).
Morals or lessons: varies across short stories, but generally: friends are the best.
“Tomorrow” is one of my favorite Frog and Toad stories for its moral that it is better to do things today than put them off to tomorrow. “The Kite” highlights persistence in the face of discouragement from peers. “Alone” shows one friend trying to cheer up another.
Age range: newborn to confident readers.
This is a particularly great option for older siblings to read to younger siblings.
Format: collection of five short stories.
This volume includes “Tomorrow,” “The Hat,” “Alone,” “The Kite,” and “Shivers.” The stories don’t have a central theme or order, so you can skip about the book at your leisure.
Visual/reading ease: high.
The pictures are straightforward and elegant without being overwhelming. The print of the book is large to help new readers.
Biggest pro: how comforting and simple these stories are.
Friendship is portrayed as a beautiful part of the everyday, and the characters encounter helpful and hurtful relationships along the way. In this book, Frog and Toad talk about chores, celebrate a birthday with a gift gone wrong, try to cheer each other up, fly a kite, and tell each other stories. These mundane moments are what build a beautiful friendship over time, and this book does a great job of showing that.
Biggest con: “Shivers” is nightmare fodder.
While I have qualms with some of the morals of Frog and Toad that I’ll discuss in a future blog post, this volume has the only story that I pretty much refuse to read to anyone. “Shivers” is a story, in a story, about the Old Dark Frog who eats frog children. While the ending shows Frog and Toad sitting together safely in front of a fire, young readers may not think that having the shivers “is a good, warm feeling” as the book claims.
Fun factor: medium.
The fun moments in this volume, for children and adults alike, come from cleverness. Frog’s solution to the problem of Toad’s birthday gift, for example, won’t make you laugh out loud but it brings a smile to my face every time.
How much heart: ALL the heart.
This book brings out the beauty of doing the everyday – facing the annoyances and pleasantries of daily life – with a friend by your side.
Re-readability: very high.
The Frog and Toad books were the books from my childhood that I have been most happy to share with my daughter (and my husband, who didn’t grow up with them). I’ll return to some stories more than others (such as “Tomorrow” in this volume), but I hope you read all of them! (Except maybe “Shivers”.)