City Dog, Country Frog

( 27 )

Overview


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.

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Overview


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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
This spare, poignant tale of friendship takes us through the seasons. In the springtime, released from his leash, City Dog runs into the countryside. There he spots Country Frog on a rock. Never having seen one before, he asks the frog what he is doing. "Waiting for a friend," is the reply. "But you'll do." Country Frog teaches the dog games to play all during the spring. In the section labeled "Summer," City Dog teaches the frog city games. By the fall, as the leaves are turning, Country Frog is tired. So they play "remembering games," recalling all their fun together. When City Dog returns during the winter and runs to Country Frog's rock, he is sad to find that he is not there. When it is "Spring again," however, a new friendship begins. Large pages offer Muth the space to create sensitive watercolor scenes for his appealing, naturalistic characters. His illustrations convey the emotions of both the dog and the frog as he varies his palette through the seasons and across the end pages. The simple story offers much to contemplate about both friendship and loss. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2—Spare, poignant, and ultimately upbeat, this tale depicts the natural cycle of friendship from an enthusiastic first encounter to contented companionship to the heartbreak of loss and eventual emotional renewal. Presented with a comfortingly consistent narrative structure, the events are set against the backdrop of the changing seasons, reassuring readers that winter will turn again to spring, sadness to joy. In "spring," City Dog runs free in the countryside for the first time ever and discovers an unfamiliar creature perched on a rock. Asked, "What are you doing?" Country Frog smiles and replies, "Waiting for a friend…but you'll do." The two play Country Frog games ("jumping and splashing and croaking") and when reunited in "summer," they enjoy City Dog pastimes ("sniffing and fetching and barking"). In "fall," Country Frog is tired, so the friends spend their time remembering. When City Dog arrives again in "winter," Country Frog is nowhere to be found (a wordless spread shows the pooch sitting on the rock, looking small and forlorn against a stark winterscape). In "spring again," a sad-looking City Dog befriends another critter with a familiar line, and then beams "a froggy smile" (shown in close-up, this warmly illustrated grin guarantees that Country Frog will not be forgotten). Making expert use of color and texture, Muth's expressive paintings clearly convey the tale's emotional nuances. This understated picture book allows plenty of room for young readers to interpret the animals' feelings for themselves and perhaps discuss their own emotions.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
In Willems's latest, a departure from his urban sensibility as well as his first book as solely the author, a dog from the city explores new territory when he moves to the country and befriends a frog. The book follows the friends through the seasons. A picture book of this length could feel endless, but this glides along as the friends share country-frog and city-dog pastimes in spring and summer. Fall becomes a time for slowing down, and then in winter City Dog's friend disappears, an event foreshadowed in fall by a gentle image of the frog's "hand" resting on the sleeping dog. Just when readers may find themselves reaching for the tissues, a new friend shows up for the dog in this smart and subtle meditation on life, love and loss. The author provides the perfect amount of humor to keep things from getting too heavy, and Muth's astounding watercolors lend incredible depth, guiding readers easily from emotion to emotion as well as from season to season. The image of a happy dog treading water with a frog on his head says it all. (Picture book. 3 & up)
Kristi Jemtegaard
From froggy smile to wagging tail, every inch of City Dog, Country Frog evokes canine reality as well as the human emotions we all invest in our four-footed companions. An improbable friendship made simply and beautifully real by an equally improbable pairing of words and art, writer and illustrator.
—The Washington Post
Jim McMullan
This is a story about happy chances and the rewards of being with a friend, as well as a story about surviving loss and moving on. The text is both efficient and beautiful, and with Willems's witty word play, it builds two clear characters rather than just two familiar animals—picture-book writing at its best. The light-filled watercolors by the celebrated Jon J Muth…beautifully illustrates the changing landscape and emotional high points of the story.
—The New York Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781423103004
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Pages: 64
  • Sales rank: 56,755
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.40 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Mo Willems
Mo Willems (www.pigeonpresents.com) is New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of picture books and early readers that have changed the face of children's literature. He has been awarded a Caldecott Honor on three occasions, and two of his Elephant and Piggie early readers have received a Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal. His most recent picture book is Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed, of which Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books wrote: "Willems continues to be a master at conveying an amazing amount of emotion and humor using . . . minimal elements" in a starred review. This is the first book he has written and not illustrated.

Jon J Muth is the author and artist of the New York Times best-seller and Caldecott Honor book, Zen Shorts. He has illustrated many award-winning books, including another New York Times best-seller, A Family of Poems, by Caroline Kennedy He is also the writer and illustrator of The Three Questions, which the New York Times called "quietly life changing."

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

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(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2010

    Poignant

    Mo Willems diverts from his typical style with this book. While it IS different from his other books, it still is wonderful. It is touching without be saccharine. The watercolors are beautiful. Mo Willems doesn't dissapoint.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    This is a wonderful and touching story about life and change.  T

    This is a wonderful and touching story about life and change.  The little boy I nanny for brought this home as a library book and we purchased it the next day! It is a bedtime favorite now! (:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    My son loves it!

    Such a sweet book about unlikely friends and accepting change. The illustrations are wonderful. My son loved it so much at school that he requested it on his Santa list!

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  • Posted February 11, 2011

    Beautiful Colors

    A nice story about friendship. Can be a little sad but the lesson is a necessary one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2010

    Great book for children and adults alike

    This a beautiful story book. It is about life and loss and being o.k. The pictures and wonderful and the story is very meaningful.

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