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George's Favorite Tooth Tidbits on books for young people.


Frog and Toad: The Fan Debate Book (all rights reserved)

I Heart Daily recently interviewed Michelle Pan, a 20 year old Twi-hard who oversees and wrote the "fan debate book," Bella Should Have Dumped Edward.

According to Pan, this is what a fan debate book looks like:

I asked many questions relating to the controversial topics in the Twilight saga and fans submitted their responses. I then compiled them into a book and wrote my own opinions on the topics.

A fan debate book!?  I want to write a fan debate book!

And you know who are just begging for a fan debate book?  THESE GUYS:

That's right.  Frog and Toad need a fan debate book.

I spent a truly mind-boggling amount of time with Frog and Toad whilst writing my thesis on easy readers and came up with a lot of questions in the process - questions that would set the stage for one heckuva fan debate book.

Does Frog serve as a gentle motivator or is he just a big jerk sometimes?

Frog does lots of nice things.  He fulfills Toad's lifelong dream of receiving mail by sending him a letter, he coaxes him out of hibernation, and he buys him a hat that fits.   But when Toad clearly wants to have a cookie binge, Frog throws all the cookies out to the birds.  In "Shivers," Frog won't even tell Toad if a ghost story is true.  And, in the jerkiest move of all, Frog breaks their routine in "Alone" leaving Toad to worry that he has been abandoned by the only other talking amphibian in the forest (more on that later).

Does Toad suffer from a mental illness?

The signs are all there.  In  "Spring," he doesn't want to get out of bed (same with in "Tomorrow"). In "The Dream," he has a seriously messed up dream with some pretty intense imagery involving theatrics and a shrinking Frog.  In "The List," he is rendered useless when he loses the missive he wrote to himself.  Depression?  Delusions?  OCD?  This is the stuff fan debate books are made of.

Where are their shirts?

Frog and Toad where pants, belts and blazers, but no shirts.  WHY?

How can they participate in winter activities?

Just like Edward and his vampire pals, Frog and Toad are cold-blooded.  Or is it that Edward doesn't have any blood?  I don't know.  The point is that both Edward and Frog/Toad require special living conditions due to biology.  But, if Frog and Toad are cold-blooded, and hibernate in the winter, what the dang are they doing up and about in "Christmas Eve" and "Down the Hill?"

Do Frog and Toad drift apart by Book Four (Days With Frog and Toad)?

This is a real tough one - it would warrant a whole chapter, for sure.  In "Alone," the final chapter in Frog and Toad's saga, Frog drops a bombshell, leaving this note on his door for Toad:

Dear Toad,

I am not at home.

I went out.

I want to be alone.



Toad freaks out, finds Frog, and they mend fences when Frog says that he just wanted a bit of alone time - nothing permanent.  The story then ends with the most brilliant line of all time: "They were two close friends sitting alone together."

But are fences really mended?  Has there been irreparable damage to their friendship?  Did this incident prove that Frog is really the one calling the shots in the friendship?  I'm telling you - the only way we're ever going to get to the bottom of this is with a fan debate book.

So, I just thought I'd put it out there.  I don't want a nasty Harry Potter-esque lawsuit on my hands when someone inevitably tries to make it big on the Frog and Toad enigma.

Forget Team Edward and Team Jacob.  It's all about Team "I don't think they wear shirts because it interferes with their natural cooling systems" and Team "I don't think the store that they buy their little amphibian clothes at even sells shirts."

Comments (5) Trackbacks (0)
  1. This is delightful and insightful. Thanks!

  2. No, thank YOU! That means a bundle (and a half) coming from you.

  3. The big debate my students foster involves the end of “A Swim.” Is the friendship damaged when Frog laughs at Toad in his bathing suit? (Is that why “The Letter” concludes the volume–to reinstate the friendship?) I’ve encouraged my students to study not only Lobel’s word choice but also his illustrations (lots of horizontals in that last illustration for the story). We’ve also studied reader comments on bookseller websites, as well as the interpretation provided by the 1985 Churchill Films adaptation (which is really quite wonderful). Many thanks for giving us some new questions to consider about our Easy Reader friends!

  4. While I made light of some of these questions in my post, they really are fascinating. You are so right about “A Swim” – it is the first time one starts to wonder about Frog’s role in the friendship. While Toad really DOES look funny in that old-timey suit, isn’t it a friend’s duty to stifle laughter in such instances? And the order of the stories in each volume is another great point, and one I often forget about. I also found it interesting to listen to the Frog and Toad audiobook; hearing Lobel read his own work adds yet another dimension to the interpretation. I wish I could have been in your class!!!

  5. I am trying to research the animated Frog and Toad episode where one or the other is a spy. Key quotes are: “I’m a brain surgeon from Kathmandu” and “If I bite you on the neck, you will become a vampire too”. Any help out there?

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