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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Frogs and Toads All Sang, written by Arnold Lobel with color by Adrianne Lobel. Harper, 2009. $22.50 ages 3 and up


Miss Frog went in the kitchen
To bake some apple pies.
The little frogs were watching
With hunger in their eyes.
Miss Frog went in the kitchen
To make a sugar bun.
The little frogs were waiting
Until the bun was done."

Ah, Frog and Toad! I loved those stories and my kids loved them, too. I have strong and fond memories of sharing them with my grade 1 and 2 kids at Green Acres in the early 80s. My interest in children's literature had grown enormously with the arrival of Erin and Bret and I was constantly searching for books to share at home and at school. The Frog and Toad books were on every list, and were such a hit.

Seeing these new poems that were discovered by his daughter following his death, puts me right back in an Arnold Lobel frame of mind. The poems and drawings were part of an estate auction and had been given in book form to dear friends and then found again following Crosby Bonsall's death. His warmth and tender caring for the characters he created were evident on every single page...and that did not change as he went on to write more stories about these favored animal folk.

The drawings had been done in black and white. When Adrianne Lobel took them to a publisher, this project was born and she was asked to color them for publication. She pored over his later works to find the courage to try her hand at doing so. Of this process she says:

"I used Papa's preferred Dr. Martin's dyes, worked very wet, and with a big brush. I kept in mind one of the things Papa taught me as a very young artist: "Don't be afraid to color outside the lines!"

There are ten poems here...compact, charming and even comical, about frogs, toads and polliwogs. They are meant to be read aloud and shared with a new generation of Arnold Lobel fans. His books never go out of style and need to be savored and passed on to your children and their children. They just make me smile.

Here's another:


One summer night
In early June,
A frog looked upward
At the moon.
He said, "I'll jump
Right on that thing
Without the use
Of jet or spring."
He counted three,
Then jumped quite high
And hit the moon
In late July."

Watch for him there!

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