Looking at this classic book’s cover can almost transport me back to my elementary school library. Frog and Toad Are Friends is the first book of four beloved books written by Arnold Lobel that detailed the adventures of two very good friends, Frog and Toad. I had not read these books, again, since I was a child, but as I was reading this one for this review, I found it just as amusing as I always had. Lobel is able to write stories that are clever and funny, while also being a heartfelt representation of friendship and love.
One of my favorite moments is when Frog and Toad decide to go swimming. Toad does not want to come out of the water because he thinks he looks funny in his bathing suit. Unfortunately, others keep arriving because they heard Toad looks funny in his bathing suit. Eventually, he has to come out and all the other animals laugh at him including Frog. Admittedly, this is not very nice of everyone. If I were reading this with children, I would want to have a discussion about this kind of behavior. But on the next page, Toad asks Frog what he is laughing about. Frog tells him, “I am laughing at you, Toad, because you do look funny in your bathing suit.” And Toad just responds, “Of course I do.” I think this highlights a very realistic part of friendship, where you can laugh at each other in silly situations out of good nature. It shows that Frog and Toad really are close friends. And if you look at the image, he does look quite funny in his bathing suit.
The structure of these books is also interesting because it resembles a chapter book where the text is the primary feature. The pictures just seem to be inserted in the story. Despite this, the pictures are incredibly important to the story, as you could see in the story about the bathing suit. His illustrations convey Frog and Toad’s emotions and their bond really well.
Lobel also uses different techniques for the pictures, which can be seen on this page.
Some images have a very clear border like this picture on the left, and others seem to blend into the page. It has this effect of making the reader feel like an outsider looking in sometimes and other times feel immersed in the story. This seems to convey that, as readers, we are outsiders looking at Frog and Toad’s friendship and the bond they share, which is only between the two of them. But we can also share in some of the emotions they feel because we can relate that to our own friendships.
The book ends on a very positive note of friendship and leaves a very warm feeling that captures the essence of these books. Frog and Toad are just two friends, sitting there, feeling happy together.