Friday, August 6, 2010

City Dog, Country Frog - a touching story of friendship (ages 4-8)

As we head into the home stretch of summer, I think of time we can spend with old friends - friends we see every summer. But summer is also a time for kids to make new friends - at summer camps, in the neighborhood, at the park. Mo Willems and Jon Muth have teamed up to bring us a wonderful book about friendship: City Dog, Country Frog. It's a book that will touch your heart and bring a smile to your face.

City Dog, Country Frog
words by Mo Willems
pictures by Jon J Muth
NY: Hyperion, 2010
ages 4-8
available on Amazon and at your local library
When spring comes, City Dog is thrilled to come to the country, running without a leash, exploring the woods and the pond. He spots Country Frog sitting on a rock by the pond. Asked, "What are you doing?" Country Frog smiles and replies, "Waiting for a friend…but you'll do." They play games, and Country Frog teaches City Dog about splashing and croaking. In the summer, City Dog returns and races to see his new friend.

In the fall, Country Frog is tired. “Maybe we can play remembering games.” And so they spend time together remembering jumping and splashing, sniffing and barking. Winter is a lonely time, as City Dog cannot find his friend. But spring returns. City Dog once again races to the pond. Frog is not there, but a chipmunk spots something she has never seen before – City Dog. And a new friendship begins.

Muth’s soft, expressive watercolors convey the emotions with nuance and feeling. This tender story of friendship is filled with hope and happiness, even as it touches on the sadness of losing a friend. You'll get a feeling for the book from this trailer:

Mo Willems is the author of the Pigeon books, the Elephant and Piggie books, the Knuffle Bunny books, and the Cat the Cat books. Here he shows a much more tender side, but as always shows that he has his pulse on children's emotions.

Jon Muth has written and illustrated many books, including Zen Shorts and Three Questions. He is an incredible painter, creating just the right blend of human emotions and dog qualities to elicit real empathy for this dog.

City Dog, Country Frog has been at the top of the NYTimes Bestseller list for 8 weeks since publication. Hooray!

Other reviews:
Kids Lit: "Highly recommended, this pairing of author and illustrator has created an amazing story that is deep and moving."
A Year of Reading: "Mo Willems is brilliant about saying so much in so few words."
NY Times: "The light-filled watercolors by the celebrated Jon J Muth, whose “Zen Shorts” was both a best seller and the winner of a Caldecott Honor, beautifully illustrates the changing landscape and emotional high points of the story."

The review copy was kindly sent by the publisher. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this page, a small portion will go toward Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

1 comment:

  1. I hadn't seen that trailer. SO fun to meet Nelson Willems!!