Friday, February 26, 2010
My favorite favorite favorite children's series ever are the Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel. Each story is sweeter than the last, and if I wrote children's books I'd have to stop writing before beginning because the best have already been written. I love Jan Brett and I love Dan and Audrey Wood and I love many others, but for stories that just make me happy, "Frog and Toad" are better for me than chocolate (even Cadbury Mini Eggs).
Lobel died the year I graduated from high school--before I'd even really become acquainted with his books. Yes, I'd shelved them in my parents store, sold plenty of them, perhaps even read them to my nieces and nephews. But it took growing up to truly love these little stories. And when I found out he died (which I didn't until last year), I was sad, the kind of sad I was when John Denver died. I still can't listen to John Denver without a tinge of melancholy sneaking up on me.
My favorite of these stories is "Cookies."
In the story, Toad bakes some cookies and then runs off to share them with Frog. They both agree they're the best they've ever eaten, and they keep trying to stop eating them. But they can't. So Frog says they'll need will power in order to stop. They put the cookies in a box, tie it with a string, put it on a high shelf, but still they know they can get to it. So Frog takes it down, cuts the string, opens the box, and feeds the rest of the cookies to the birds. Toad bemoans the fact that they're all gone now, but Frog says, "Yes, but we have lots and lots of will power." "You may keep it all, Frog," says Toad. "I am going to go home now and bake a cake."
I have no will power. I hide treats from myself all the time--or make them hard to access by putting them in the basement. (Should I be embarrassed to admit that? Hm.)I've been known to throw away candy because I'm afraid I'll eat it if it taunts me from the cupboard too loudly. And then I go out and buy more junk because I miss that taunting. So I get this story. I love it. I claim it.
I strongly recommend you go out and buy the "Frog and Toad" collections--whether you have children or not.
Now you'll have to excuse me. I have a bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs to finish off.
And while I'm doing that, tell me what some of your favorite children's stories/authors are and why?