Recommended Picture books for Children: City Dog, Country Frog

picture-books-for-children-mo-willems

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems is one of Reading Kingdom’s recommended picture books for children.  Melissa Gaynor from Sweet on Books explains why:

What You Need to Know:

• Mo Willems and Jon Muth, two Caldecott Honorees, work together for the first time in this lovely picture book about friendship.
• While this story did elicit a few smiles, there is an element of sadness when one of the characters goes away, leaving the other behind.
• The watercolor illustrations show the serenity of each passing season and at the same time depict emotion in the animals’ faces.
• Although this story seems quite simple at first, there are some powerful messages that come through in the end.

Summary:

City Dog, Country Frog is a simple story about the passing seasons and an unlikely friendship between a frog and a dog – and it is so much more than that too. When City Dog first comes to the country he is happy just to run free. Then he spies something he has never seen before – a frog sitting on a rock. Instead of running in the other direction at something (or someone) new, City Dog approaches this creature and starts a conversation. Country Frog claims that he’s waiting for a friend “But you’ll do” and from there a friendship is born.

As the seasons pass, the reader will feel City Dog’s excitement when he rushes down to Country Frog’s rock to see his new friend. Their friendship develops and the frog and dog get to know each other better. That means they learn about what the other likes to do and how to play games the other enjoys. They teach each other and agree to try new things together. Sometimes they even just sit quietly and remember the good times they’ve had. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a friendship, right? Well winter comes too soon and when City Dog rushes off to his familiar rock, things are not the same. City Dog is sad and disappointed to find that Country Frog is nowhere to be found – and we, the reader, never learn exactly where he has gone. In a two-page spread, the reader sees City Dog sitting on a rock waiting for his friend. The depth of the landscape compared to the small size of the dog seems to highlight the magnitude of his loss. In just a short time, we’ve gotten so used to seeing the frog and dog together that seeing him alone can almost bring a tear to your eye.

Well, as it does for all of us, time moves on in the country and with spring comes new hope and new friendships. This time it’s a Country Chipmunk waiting on the rock and he approaches City Dog. Of course he is still sad, but with his old friend in mind (and a “froggy smile” on his face) City Dog responds “But you’ll do” seemingly in Country Frog’s honor. I have to admit that the first time I read this story I didn’t see the beauty or scope of it but after I read it through again, I really saw its value. Charming and easy to read, this story will leave you thinking about its message long after you put it down.”

For more picture books for children, we recommend the Reading Kingdom book series.

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