City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems (Simon and Schuster, 2010, 64 pages, $17.00, ages 3-6)
A city dog first visits the countryside in the spring, off leash, and spies a country frog waiting for a playmate: the city dog ‘will do,’ so they play country-frog games. When the city dog returns in the summer, they play city-dog games. During the fall, the country frog tires and slows down so by the water’s edge they soak up the autumn sun’s rays while playing ‘remembering games.’ City dog cannot find his friend during the winter or when he returns the following spring but he meets a country chipmunk and says that he ‘will do’ for a friend.
And so the cycle of life begins once again.
Adults will simply love the delightful watercolor illustrations (check out the cover illustration).
Kids will love the lack of adults and will learn about friendship with those different from us.
For a deeper meaning, children and their adults can talk about the passing of life, the continuation of life, and the short lifespans in the animal world, including those of our pets.
On a lighter level, City Dog is all about sharing games and life - with those who are different from us.
City Dog, Country Frog reminds one of a Charlotte’s Web for the younger set: good friends can be found everywhere!
And so can good books.
(Both author and illustrator are New York Times’ best sellers and Caldecott honorees.)