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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Fuse 8 n’ Kate: Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

FrogToadFriends1The name of the game here is A Break From Brats. I wanted to get Kate out of the realm of bratty children’s book protagonists, so I thought the world’s greatest friendship pair was the way to go. But before we get to that, we do a rundown of the best and worst picture books we’ve ever looked at. Sorry that I didn’t include the color coded list we’re using for reference in this post. As for the rest of the show, Kate writes down morals for every story in this book, and her interpretations aren’t entirely canon. For my part, I get to wax loquacious on my horizontal pupil theory of children’s literature. Could I ask for anything more?

Listen to the whole show here on Soundcloud or download it through iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, or your preferred method of podcast selection.

Show Notes:

– By the way, the Eric Carle exhibit was turned into a catalog, available for purchase. You can find Seeking a State of Grace: The Art of Arnold Lobel at the Eric Carle Museum’s bookstore.

– I just want to say with sadness that apparently with the publication of The Merry Spinster, The Toast no longer hosts Daniel Ortberg’s magnificent Children’s Books Made Horrific. So I wasn’t able to provided a link here. Life is disappointment.

– Dragonfly eyeballs. More cartoonish than your average Lobel animal.


– Couldn’t find an ideal video of it, but here’s the original Broadway recording of the Toad looks funny in a bathing suit song.

– Sorry, I disagree with Kate on this one. I think Toad is bearing up very well here. Brave face.


– I’m still not convinced on that whole “snail mail” debacle. Wikipedia is hardly a go-to resource for accuracy.

– This isn’t an ideal recording, but this singer is the strongest Snail I was able to find on YouTube, so in it goes:

– As I mentioned, this book came in at #15 on the Top 100 poll.

– The Aaron Zenz version of Frog & Toad is, by far, superior to almost all others:

– Still, I harbor an affection for this delightful French-ish version of The List:

– What actually won the Caldecott in 1970? A Story A Story, retold and illustrated by Gail E. Haley. A book that might be viewed as slightly problematic these days.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. The entire Toast archives have been taken down for some legal reason that Nicole Cliffe chose not to elaborate on in her twitter feed.

    Here’s a link to the Frog and Toad Children’s Books Made Horrific, via the Internet Archive:

  2. According to the OED, the first instance of the term “Snail mail” is from 1982:

  3. I’m actually surprised to hear this called a break from the bratty because I honestly find Toad suuuuuuper bratty. But I haven’t actually read the book in a long time; I’ve had Arnold Lobel read it to me. (Let me explain!) We checked out the audiobook from the library and I’ve had a couple of observations from listening to it many many times in the car with my son.

    1 – Lobel’s voice is miraculous. My son loves it. It has calmed screaming tantrums. He asks for Frog and Toad when he gets in the car and listens to it in complete silence (not a natural state for him…).
    2 – Toad looking for his buttons is not a nice Toad at all. He gets progressively louder and more animated and angry while Frog is quite patient with him. This is one of those moments where I find Toad quite bratty.
    3 – Toad’s demeanor (according to how I interpret Lobel’s voice) when exiting the water is more of a “well of course I look funny. I TOLD you I looked funny. And I was right”. So: justified Toad, not downtrodden Toad.

    Also, something else I thought of, Frog and Toad feature prominently in Cynthia Lord’s “Rules” – one of the rules is “If you need to borrow words, Arnold Lobel wrote some good ones.”

    I must say, I’d have to agree with that.

  4. I’m kind of sad that “Frog and Toad are Friends” is the most iconic Frog and Toad title, because “Frog and Toad Together” is the BEST Frog and Toad title and should get more attention. It’s a work of complete genius. I like “Days with Frog and Toad” a lot, too. But if all I knew of Frog and Toad was “…are Friends” I don’t think I’d be all that impressed. So, anyrate, Kate should read “Frog and Toad Together” before making any judgments on Frog and/or Toad.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I was a little sad too, truth be told. I thought it best to stick with the first F&T but I would agree with you that “Together” is far and away the superior work. I’ll mention this to Kate.

  5. I’m a HUGE Frog and Toad fan, since the 2nd grade! But, when I saw the stage version (first at a local university, and then at a Philadelphia theater), I became a card-carrying Frog and Toad stalker … I mean UBER fan. The musical really does justice to the “imperfect” friendship of Frog and Toad, and the score is catchy. My son, who is 19, will still happily listen to the soundtrack in the car. Carry on, my amphibian friends! You are truly a classic.