City Dog, Country Frog
written by Mo Willems; illustrated by Jon J. Muth
(Hyperion Books for Children) 2010
Source: Orange County Public Library
On his first day in the country, City Dog runs far into the woods and meets a new friend, Country Frog. Being new, City Dog doesn't know country games, so Country Frog teaches him games that involve frog activities like splashing, jumping, and croaking. The two new friends enjoy the beautiful spring day together. In the summer, City Dog teaches Country Frog different city games that involve dog activities like "sniffing and fetching and barking." When City Dog returns in the fall, Country Frog is too tired to play Dog and Frog games, but instead wants to play "remember-ing" games where the two friends recall their spring and summer activities. In the winter, City Dog again races to Country Frog's rock, but he is nowhere to be found.
My wife and oldest daughter were not happy after reading this book. They both have an aversion to serious books involving animals since they tend not to go well (if you know what I mean) at some point in the book. That feeling aside, City Dog, Country Dog is a versatile book that can be used to teach many different concepts. For example, I think it would be a great companion to Please Take Me for a Walk to compare rural and urban landscapes. You can also read it when teaching a life cycle unit in science. I thought it would be interesting to read it to a 4th or 5th grade class that has read Charlotte's Web or Tuck Everlasting to compare how authors deal with the cycle of life. City Dog, Country Dog would also be an excellent mentor text for teaching inference to younger students. This is one of those texts that you should buy since it could be read several times for different purposes.
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