Tuesday, February 15, 2011

City Dog, Country Frog

Willems, Mo. 2010. CITY DOG, COUNTRY FROG. Ill. by Jon Muth. New York: Hyperion. ISBN 9781423103004 [Suggested Grade Levels PreK-3]

CITY DOG, COUNTRY FROG is a touching story of two unlikely friends. The book takes the reader through the seasons of the year showing not only the changes in the landscape, but the growing friendship between City Dog and Country Frog. While Country Frog teaches City Dog the joys of frog activities like jumping and splashing, City Dog teaches Country Frog how to throw so they can play dog games like catch. Even though the text is simple, the illustrations speak volumes. The reader can see the love the characters have for each other in the wagging of City Dog’s tail to the giant grin on Country Frog’s face. Fall finds Country Frog too tired to play, so he just wants them to play “remember-ing games.” When City Dog falls asleep with Country Frog’s webbed-foot touching him, no words are needed. The illustration says it all. Winter and the spring (again) find City Dog looking for Country Frog. As he is sadly sitting on frog’s rock, Country Chipmunk asks him what he is doing. The circle of life and friendship continues.

John Muth’s illustrations paired with Mo Willems’ words are a winning combination. Muth’s choice of muted watercolors shows the warmth of the character’s friendship and beauty of the changing seasons.

This book could be paired with a unit on a frog’s life cycle or used when discussing the changing seasons.

Other books depicting city/rural settings, seasons, and/or the life cycle of a frog:
Brett, Jan. TOWN MOUSE, COUNTRY MOUSE. ISBN 9780698119864
dePaola, Tomie. FOUR STORIES FOR FOUR SEASONS. ISBN 9780671886332
Gibbons, Gale. FROGS. ISBN 9780823411344

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