Reading Tips For Parents & Educators
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Over a span of 26 years, Arnold Lobel wrote and illustrated many children’s books and received many accolades, including a Caldecott Medal, two Caldecott Honors, and a Newbery Honor. He’s among a select few to have been recognized for both his illustrations and his writing. Yet, while his name resonates with many, it’s his characters Frog and Toad who have become one of the most acclaimed duos in the children’s book world and a bit of a pop culture phenomenon. In 2020, the friends are celebrating the 50th Anniversary of their companionship, and they are just as beloved as ever.
Though we lost Arnold Lobel in 1987, Frog and Toad have thrived. They’ve had their own musical on Broadway, which can still be seen in local theater productions. They’ve been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. The Atlantic suggests that Frog and Toad taught millennials to appreciate individuality.
Julia Donaldson, the beloved author of The Gruffalo, discussed Lobel’s influence on her in The Guardian , praising Lobel for his optimism. She wrote, “I think we can all recognise ourselves in Toad’s stubbornness and Frog’s common sense.”
With four books comprised of five short, simple tales each, Frog and Toad remain the perfect stories for beginning readers. Placed solidly as Level 2 I Can Read books, the stories are written with mainly one, or two, syllable words that often repeat. Yet, the storylines are complex, and parents wouldn’t be remiss to read them aloud to readers of any level.
Most of us grew up with Frog and Toad, so it’s exciting to share the stories with a new generation. It’s easy to see that the stories are timeless, and classic. Frog remains cheerful and steadfast. Toad is stubborn and relatable. Lobel was an expert at teaching us to reflect on ourselves and be able to laugh. As humans, we aren’t perfect and make mistakes, even when we try our best, just like Frog and Toad. And most of all, with Lobel’s signature gentle humor, kindness and sensibility, they teach us the meaning of friendship.
We are all a bit better off with Frog and Toad in our lives. As Frog says in “Alone”:
I am happy. I am very happy. This morning when I woke up I felt good because the sun was shining. I felt good because I was a frog. And I felt good because I have you as a friend.
For a complete list of books that are perfect for early readers, please browse more of the I Can Read site.