I’d like to just take this moment to announce to the world: I loved Frog and Toad. And even though I have “outgrown” them, I still love to read them while standing in the aisle of the kids’ section of the bookstore.
For those of you who don’t know them, Frog and Toad are best friends, living a green leafy existence in some unspecified part of nature (a river bank? A forest? One can speculate, but I’ve never known for sure). Their “adventures” are chronicled in Frog and Toad are Friends, Frog and Toad Together, Frog and Toad All Year, and Days with Frog and Toad…my middle sister owned the whole set, gifts from my mother. I was always envious, because I just loved those books.
In my mind, I was Frog, green, tall, laid-back and logical…and my sis was Toad…slightly spastic, demanding, high-stress, and a worry-wart. But in all honesty, I am probably more Toad than Frog. And my sis (the “cool sister”…why is the middle child always the “cool” child?) is definitely more Frog.
I still feel hungry when I read “Cookies”. I still feel scared when I think about the scary giant Frog in the Woods (with his sheet and penchant for eating small Frogs) in “Shivers”. I can still picture Toad, with two dripping ice cream cones stuck on his head, looking just like a monster when all he wanted to do was bring Frog a treat (“Ice Cream”). And for years, I thought that soaking a hat in water would shrink it (don’t ask).
I can’t remember the other stories in much detail because I don’t own the books because mom gave them to my sister instead and no, I’m not bitter. But I remember the illustrations. I remember Toad’s tale of procrastination (when he stays in bed dreading tomorrow because of the chores it holds), because it still rings true! I remember Frog sitting alone to think of his blessings in the stillness. I remember Frog and Toad sitting by the fire with a pot of tea.
My middle sister never liked reading the way that I did. But she loved these books – “chapter” books for younger readers, with pictures, and stories that cling to your memory. Every child can identify with best friends hanging out, even if those friends are brown and green.
Favourite Moment: I don’t have the books (but no bitterness, honest!) so have no passage to quote. But I clearly remember Toad lying in bed dreading tomorrow, getting up and doing his chores, and then crawling back into bed to enjoy his (now) free time. All sentiments that I can still relate to.
Reading Ages: Pre-school to grade 2. They are easy to read to children, and easy to read for children. And these stories just don’t lose their charm.