In spring, when City Dog runs free in the country for the first time, he spots Country Frog sitting on a rock, waiting for a friend. "You'll do," Frog says, and together they play Country Frog games. In summer, they meet again and play City Dog games. Read more...
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In spring, when City Dog runs free in the country for the first time, he spots Country Frog sitting on a rock, waiting for a friend. "You'll do," Frog says, and together they play Country Frog games. In summer, they meet again and play City Dog games. Through the seasons, whenever City Dog visits the country he runs straight for Country Frog's rock. In winter, things change for City Dog and Country Frog. Come spring, friendship blooms again, a little different this time.
Mo Willems' spare, poignant text and Jon J. Muth's expressive watercolors team up to tell a story that will resonate with readers of all ages.
- ISBN-13: 9781423103004
- ISBN-10: 1423103009
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publish Date: June 2010
- Page Count: 64
- Reading Level: Ages 3-6
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-05-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Muth (Zen Shorts) sets a limpid rural scene for Willems's (Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed) two unlikely friends in this tranquil tale of change. One spring day, redolent with fresh yellow-greens and pale blues, City Dog tastes life "without a leash!" Exploring a reedy pond, he meets Country Frog, who teaches him "jumping and splashing and croaking." When summer arrives, City Dog demonstrates "sniffing and fetching and barking." Fall brings orange-gold foliage and a brown cast to Country Frog's emerald skin. In wintertime, City Dog trots through the snow to find Country Frog's favorite rock unoccupied. A closing chapter, "spring again," shows City Dog encountering another animal and repeating the same greeting Country Frog met him with the year before. Willems's concise sentences, paired with joking illustrations in his other works, lose their hilarity--but gain significant emotional weight--when matched with Muth's watercolors. Pink blossoms and red maple leaves allude to Japanese art; Muth pictures Country Frog as a wise tutor who tosses a stick for his apprentice and, in a rain shower, protectively holds a leaf over the dog. The understated episodes acknowledge the transitory nature of the seasons and of life itself. Ages 3–6. (June)
Unlikely pals on life's journey
Fans of Mo Willems’ best-selling, laugh-out-loud Pigeon and Knuffle Bunny books may be surprised by the quiet tone of his new picture book, City Dog, Country Frog, in which a dog and a frog befriend one another. Their relationship is sweet and heartfelt, much like that of Arnold Lobel’s beloved Frog and Toad series, without any of Frog and Toad’s misunderstandings.
The duo meets in spring, on City Dog’s “first day in the country.” They romp and explore exuberantly, basking in each other’s company. When summer arrives, City Dog teaches Frog some of his favorite games, which include “sniffing and fetching and barking.” By fall, however, Frog is too tired to play, and come winter, he is gone, leaving City Dog lonely and bereft over the loss of his friend. The next spring, City Dog finds a new companion (Country Chipmunk), but he never forgets dear Frog.
In a beautifully understated way, City Dog, Country Frog tackles the essential issues of friendship, change, loss and death. It’s also the sort of book that can be absorbed at many levels. Some children will simply enjoy the surface-level story, while others might be ready for more profound discussions suggested by the tale.
While Willems’ text is appropriately spare, Jon J Muth’s watercolor illustrations are gorgeous, showing the changing soft palette of each successive season—from the brilliant greens of spring and summer to the soft purple, blue and yellow tones of a beautiful winter day. Muth’s renditions of Dog and Frog are cute but never trite, and he paints these animals with a wide range of heartfelt expressions.
Writing and illustrating such a lovely, simple, yet meaningful book is no easy feat, and Muth and Willems have once again proven themselves masters.