Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad Together
Children's book review by Steve Barancik
The perfect book for new readers
There's no very nice way to say this: Frog and Toad aren't very bright.
In their first two stories in this collection, you could be lured into thinking that Toad is rather a moron and Frog his bright and patient friend.
I mean, there's Toad yelling at the seeds in his garden to grow, and refusing to run to catch his To-Do list when it blows away, because "running" wasn't one of the things on his To-Do list!
But then the book continues and you arrive at the conclusion that Toad isn't always quite that clueless, and Frog isn't all that bright either.
It's kind of like you're reading about the adventures of two of The Three Stooges. Here's why that's perfect...
Early Reader books are tough to get right!
Think about it: when your child starts reading, his/her comprehension is way ahead of his/her reading skills. Sophisticated concepts that make perfect sense when Mom or Dad is reading get lost in the struggle of just trying to puzzle out the words on the page.
That makes Early Reader books an awkward niche. They tend to be less literary and less challenging than books aimed at slightly younger kids! That means it's hard for these books to be enjoyable! Your child is just trying to struggle through them.
That's what makes it so remarkable that Frog and Toad Together won a Newbery Honor in 1973 and is one of Reading Rainbow's 101 Best Children's Books.
This book belongs on your child's shelf!
Since reading can be frustrating at the beginning, it makes perfect sense that Frog and Toad should be kind of dim-witted. Your child has someone to feel superior to and laugh at. (Better Frog and Toad than younger siblings!)
Frog and Toad Together contains 5 separate stories:
Each is of manageable length, written in short, simple sentences in relatively large print. Each is profoundly, wonderfully silly. Your child should be able to "get it" even as she/he struggles to string words together.
Frog and Toad Together can make early reading fun for your child!
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