Adrianne Lobel

The following video is an interview with Lobel’s daughter, Adrianne Lobel. During this interview, she explains the “connection” she sensed when she came upon the “never-before-published” book, The Frogs and Toads All Sang. She explains and describes the origin of the book and how she took this information in mind and colored her father’s story.  Ultimately and evidently, her father was a major influence in her artistic abilities; the valuable lessons he shared regarding illustrating and artwork facilitated the production of The Frogs and Toads All Sang.

 

Work Cited

HarperKids. “The Frogs and Toads All Sang.” YouTube. YouTube, 25 Feb. 2009. Web. 3 May 2016.

Biography of Arnold Lobel

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   The author and illustrator of the beloved picture book series of Frog and Toad, Arnold Stark Lobel was born in Los Angeles in 1933. As a young child, Lobel moved to Schenectady, New York, where he was raised. When his parents divorced, he was sent to live with his grandparents who were German Jewish immigrants. Arnold Lobel was a sickly boy who was often bullied at school. He tended to keep himself occupied with drawings, which mostly consisted of animals. In fact, he used his drawings and wild storytelling abilities to befriend other children. It is believed that the Frog and Toad series was based on these early childhood experiences. He described himself as a sad child who often took refuge in the local library. He particularly enjoyed picture books; he found them “capable of suggesting everything that is good about feeling well and having positive thoughts about being alive.”

After graduating high school, Lobel attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn to pursue a degree in fine arts. He intended to focus his education in developing his skill and passion for illustration. During his time at the institute, he met his future wife, Anita; a talented illustrator. They married and settled in Brooklyn in an apartment right across the street from the Park Zoo, where they worked side by side on their own projects and collaborations. They had two children and would go to the Park Zoo often. The animals at the zoo provided the inspiration of his first book, A Zoo for Mister Muster (1962). Lobel did not get his first real break until 1971, when his book Frog and Toad earned the Caldecott Honor. An editor convinced Lobel to try his hand at writing “early readers,” a book made popular by Dr. Seuss. The inspiration for using a frog and toad as the protagonists for the series derived from his childhood summer memories in Vermont; where he was allowed to adopt frogs and toads as pets. In 1981, he won the Caldecott Medal for most distinguished picture book of the year Fables, which is a morally instructive book that he wrote and illustrated.

Arnold Lobel would go on to write a myriad of books. He was naturally an artist and writing came much harder to him. In an interview in 1979 he claimed, “Writing is very painful to me. I have to force myself not to think in visual terms, because I know if I start to think of pictures, I’ll cop out on the text.” This is possibly why picture books came so natural to him. He was known to be a daydreamer instead of an author or an artist. He would imagine the pictures in his head before he could think of the words that would go with them. Lobel died in 1987 due to cardiac arrest at the age of 54 years old. By the end of his years he had illustrated or written nearly 100 books. He left behind his wife, daughter Adrianne, and son Adam.

Work Cited

“Arnold Lobel.” Arnold Lobel. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://www.parents-choice.org/article.cfm?art_id=35>.

“Featured Author and Illustrator: Arnold Lobel.” Arnold Lobel Classroom Author Study. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://www.carolhurst.com/authors/alobel.html>.

Silvers, Emma. “‘Frog and Toad and the World of Arnold Lobel'” ‘Frog and Toad and the World of Arnold Lobel’. 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 06 Feb. 2016. <http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/70200/frog-and-toad-and-the-world-of-arnold-lobel/>.

Stout, Hilary. “Arnold Lobel, Author-Illustrator.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 1987. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://www.nytimes.com/1987/12/06/obituaries/arnold-lobel-author-illustrator.html>.

Image Source

ThingLink. “Arnold lobel by michele.” thinglink. 2015. Web. 25 Apr. 2016.

Literary Works

Arnold Lobel was both a distinguished writer and illustrator. Receiving honors in both categories, he was extremely successful in both aspects. He has contributed to over 100 books and has made a lasting impression in children’s literature with his works.

Selected work as a writer

  •    A Zoo for Mister Muster (1962)mmm_thumb[1]
  •    Prince Bertram the Bad (1963)
  •    A Holiday for Mister Muster (1963)
  •    Giant John (1964)
  •    Lucille (1964)
  •    The Bears of the Air (1966)
  •    Martha the Movie Mouse (1966)
  •    The Comic Adventures of Old Mother Hubbard and Her Dog (1968)
  •    The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments (1968)
  •    Frog and Toad Are Friends (1970)
  •    Ice-Cream Cone Coot, and Other Rare Birds (1971)
  •    On the Day Peter Stuyvesant Sailed Into Town (1971)
  •    Mouse Tales (1972)
  •    Frog and Toad Together (1972)
  •    Owl at Home (1975)
  •    Frog and Toad All Year (1976)
  •    Mouse Soup (1977)
  •    Grasshopper on the Road (1978)
  •    A Treeful of Pigs (1979)
  •    Days with Frog and Toad (1979)
  •    Fables (1980)
  •    Uncle Elephant (1981)
  •    Ming Lo Moves the Mountain (1982)
  •    The Book of Pigericks: Pig Limerick (1983)
  •    The Rose in My Garden (1984)
  •    Whiskers & Rhymes (1985)
  •    Odd Owls & Stout Pigs: A Book of Nonsense (2009)adrianne-lobel-2009-odd-owls-stout-pigs-a-book-of-nonsense-bog-med-haard-ryg
  •    The Frogs and Toads All Sang (2009)

Selected work as an illustrator

  •    Happy Times with Holiday Rhymes (1958)
  •    My First Book of Prayers (1958)
  •    The Book of Chanukah Poems, Riddles, Stories, Songs, Things to Do (1959)
  •    The Complete Book of Hanukkah (1959)
  •    Holidays are Nice: Around the Year with the Jewish Child (1960)
  •    Red Tag Comes Back (1961)
  •    Something Old Something New (1961)
  •    Little Runner of the Longhouse (1962)
  •    Let’s Be Indians (1962)
  •    The Secret Three (1963)
  •    Greg’s Microscope (1963)
  •    Terry and the Caterpillars (1963)
  •    The Quarreling Book (1963)
  •    Miss Suzy (1964)
  •    Red Fox and His Canoe (1964)
  •    Dudley Pippin (1965)
  •    Let’s Get Turtles (1965)
  •    The Magic Spectacles and Other Easy-to-Read Stories (1965)
  •    Someday (1965)
  •    The Witch on the Corner (1966)
  •    Benny’s Animals and How He Put Them in Order (1966)
  •    Oscar Otter (1966)
  •    The Strange Disappearance of Arthur Cluck (1967)
  •    Let’s Be Early Settlers with Daniel Boone (1967)
  •    The Star Thief (1968)2136937
  •    The Four Little Children Who Went Around the World (1968)
  •    Ants Are Fun (1969)
  •    I’ll Fix Anthony (1969)
  •    Sam the Minuteman (1969)
  •    Junk Day on Juniper Street and Other Easy-to-Read Stories (1969)
  •    The Terrible Tiger (1970)
  •    The New Vestments (1970)
  •    As I was Crossing Boston Common (1973)
  •    The Clay Pot Boy (1974)
  •    Circus (1974)
  •    Dinosaur Time (1974)
  •    Nightmares: Poems to Trouble Your Sleep (1976)
  •    The Mean Old Mean Hyena (1978)
  •    Tales of Oliver Pig (1979)
  •    The Headless Horseman Rides Tonight: More Poems to Trouble Your Sleep (1980)
  •    More Tales of Oliver Pig (1981)
  •    The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)
  •    Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast: Dinosaur Poems (1988)

Work Cited

“Caldecott Medal & Honor Books, 1938-Present”. http://www.ala.org. American Library Association. Retrieved 01 March 2016.

Images

Martha and the Movie Mouse. Digital image. Mt. Hope Chronicles. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr.     2016. <http://www.mthopechronicles.com/2013/03/book-detectives-martha-movie-mouse.html&gt;.

 Odd Owls and Stout Pigs: A Book of Nonsense. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2016. <https://static.imusic.dk/gfx/item/image/542/9780061800542/adrianne-lobel-2009-odd-owls-stout-pigs-a-book-of-nonsense-bog-med-haard-ryg.jpg&gt;.

Frog and Toad Series

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There are four books that make up the Frog and Toad Series:

  • Frog and Toad are Friends (1970)
  • Frog and Toad Together (1972)
  • Frog and Toad All Year (1976)
  • Days with Frog and Toad (1979) 

These books were intended towards the audience of early-readers children. It attracts children by the representation of friendship that Frog and Toad share. Unlike other books, this book has a unique way of portraying real aspects of what a friendship entails. An example of their friendship can be seen in Frog and Toad are Friends.

“What is wrong, Toad? You look sad.”

“Yes, this is my sad time of day. I am waiting for the mail to come. It always makes me unhappy.”

“Why is that?”

“Because I never get any mail”

“You never get mail?”

“No, never. No one has ever sent me a letter. Hmmm.”

“I must go home now. I have something I must do.”

Eventually in this book Frog makes Toad a letter and sends it to him in the mail. This particular scene shows the readers the lengths a sincere friendship goes through just to make your friend smile. Although, this is just one particular book from the series this sincere message is given throughout the books. These messages give children a chance to either connect with Frog, who is happy, cheerful, kind, or Toad, who has a crazy side and could be considered reckless. An example of the different characteristics of Frog and Toad can be seen in Frog and Toad Together. 

“We must stop eating!” cried Toad as he ate another.

“Yes,” said Frog, reaching for a cookie, “we need will power.”

“What is will power?” asked Toad.

“Will power is trying hard not to do something that really

want to do,” said Frog.

“You mean like trying not to eat all of these cookies?” asked Toad.

“Right,” said Frog.

Frog put the cookies in a box. “There,” he said. “Now we will not eat any more cookies.”

“But we can open the box,” said Toad.

“That is true,” said Frog. Frog got a ladder. He put the box up on high shelf. “There,” said Frog. “Now we will not eat any more cookie.”

“But we can climb the ladder and take the box down from the shelf and cut the string and open the box,” said Toad.

“That is true,” said Frog. Frog climbed the ladder and took the box down from the shelf.

He cuts the string and opened the box. Frog took the box outside. He shouted in a loud voices

“HEY BIRDS. HERE ARE COOKIES!”

Birds came from everywhere. They picked up all the cookies in their beaks and flew away.

“Now we have no more cookies to eat,” said Toad sadly.

“Not even one,”

“Yes,” said Frog, “but we have lots of will power.” “You may keep it all, Frog,” said Toad.

“I am going home now to bake a cake.” 

This scene shows the readers Frog and Toads personalities individually but it can also remind readers of friends that they have like Frog and Toad. As readers, we can recall of a friend who is often sticking to their morals or a friend that can be a little reluctant towards following morals. In addition to friendship and moral lessons these series also display themes like build up of self-esteem and overcoming fears.

Besides the characters and storyline, the illustrations in this book are very different in the way Lobel chose the brown/green colors and the rustic drawings of Frog and Toad. Although the illustrations are not as defined, we can feel a warm home feeling throughout these illustrations. These books are quite simple but they can offer the reader a lot within the stories, pictures, and illustrations. The sentences and storylines are short that is very easy to understand. Despite their simplicity, these books are full of possibilities and offer a great read for readers.

Work Cited

Hileman, Sophie. “Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Stories.” Crisis Magazine. Crisis Magazine, 05 March. 2015. Web. 29 Feb. 2016 http://www.crisismagazine.com/2015/arnold-lobel-frog-toad-stories-modern-childrens-classics

Arnold Lobel’s Dinosaur Time

Arnold Lobel was a gifted writer and he was the author of many children’s picture books, but he was also a brilliant illustrator. In the book Dinosaur Time, the skill of his artistic talent is shown throughout each page. The drawings are created with more of a sepia tone although there is color. In some of the pages the dinosaurs leak over into another page making them appear more life-like and more realistic. The example shown below, of a Diplodocus, shows exactly how Lobel created this element of real but unreal characteristic that his dinosaurs have.

Diplodocus

The book is written by Peggy Parish and in a review of the book, Mary Wise explains how interesting Lobel’s illustrations are by saying, “for every animal, [the reader] discovers some especially interesting and distinguishing characteristic”. Peggy Parish is a skilled author herself, having written the beloved Amelia Bedelia series that helps teach children, myself included, english as well as relating to Amelia’s adventures throughout each book. Similar to her lessons from Amelia, Parish wrote about each dinosaur so that they teach the readers something new. The dinosaurs can also be learned about through the illustrations because of the accuracy of the dinosaurs and the intricate details in each drawing. The dinosaurs stand out on the page because there is little else surrounding them. The blank backgrounds, besides some trees or land, cause the dinosaurs to attract attention and truly catch the reader’s eye. This can be seen throughout the book, but is shown here in the depiction of an Ornithomimus. Lobel masters the precise yet slightly cartoonish aspect needed for these picture books.

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Lobel’s drawings have a fun element that makes this an, “exciting book for a primary-age child who is learning to read,” and this is necessary to motivate young children to learn more about the world as well as reading (Wise). As simple as these drawings may seem, it is often the simplest of drawings and books that allow kids to use their growing imaginations and Lobel helps them grow by this book, Dinosaur Time.

 

Parish, Peggy. “Dinosaur Time”. New York: Harper & Row, Inc, 1974. Print.

Wise, Mary. Review of Dinosaur Time. The American Biology Teacher 37. University of California Press, National Association of Biology Teachers. 1975. Web.

A Review of Stanton’s “Straight Man and Clown in the Picture Books of Arnold Lobel”

Joseph Stanton’s “Straight-Man and Clown in the Picture Books of Arnold Lobel” analyzes Lobel’s emblematic characters in Harper and Row’s “I Can Read Series.” Stanton argues that Lobel tended to introduce his characters through three forms of personalities. Typically, Lobel included one character that was either reasonable, or highly emotional. Alternatively, he may have chosen two characters, each possessing the highly emotional or reasonable traits. For instance, in the Frog and Toad series, Frog is considered reasonable as he consistently comforts his highly emotional friend, Toad.

frogtoadfriends3In addition to describing Lobel’s characters in Frog and Toad, Stanton explores personalities from other works such as, The Owl at Home and Grasshopper on the Road, which present only the reasonable type of characters as protagonists; through this method of storytelling, the foolish, or highly emotional character serves a minute role throughout the stories. Stanton contends, by reading Grasshopper on the Road from the reasonable character’s perspective, the reader “adopts Grasshopper’s view as [their] own and find [themselves] laughing at the human foibles.” In doing so, the reader, therefore, does not relate to the notions represented by the characters that Grasshopper meets along the way of his journey; this is unlike the take that readers would likely take when reading Lobel stories that pair both reasonable and foolish characters together. The same notion that readers can easily relate to the foolish characters is evident because children, or adult readers can look past the silly decisions and thoughts of characters and realize the logical thoughts that a reasonable character would suggest, if they existed in the story. 

Work Cited

STANTON, J. “Straight-Man And Clown In The Picture Books Of Lobel,Arnold.” Journal Of      American Culture 17.2 (n.d.): 75-84. Arts & Humanities Citation Index. Web. 30 Mar. 2016.

Images

Frog and Toad. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/files/2012/06/FrogToadFriends3.gif&gt;.

Arnold Lobel’s Mouse Soup

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“Mouse Soup”, Winner of the Caldecott Medal, is intended for early readers and introduces a new, more complex storytelling style that appeals to everyone. Arnold Lobel is famous for a great number of works, however the story Mouse soup proves to be a little different than most. The book includes a collection of fables that are told by the mouse, adding to the book as a whole.

The weasel put the mouse in a cooking pot.

“WAIT!” said the mouse.

“This soup will not taste good.

It has no stories in it.

Mouse soup must be mixed with stories to make it taste really good.”

“But I have no stories,” said the weasel.

“I do,” said the mouse.

“I can tell them now.”

“All right,” said the weasel.

“But hurry. I am very hungry.”

The mouse in the story is captured by a hungry weasel who wants to turn him into soup, but the mouse distracts him with several stories in order to escape. These tales include:

-Bees and the Mud
-Two Large Stones
-The Crickets
-The Thorn Bush

Each of these stories present a simple, yet intriguing plot that keeps the reader interested in what will happen to the characters. The book is constructed differently than the usual “set characters and situation”, and branches off to sub-stories with four other sets of characters. This interesting story structure will keep the reader’s attention throughout the book. After the mouse finishes telling his tales to the weasel, he wraps up his own story.

“There,” said the mouse.

“I have told you my stories.

They will make your mouse soup taste really good.”

“All right,” said the weasel, “but how can I put the stories into the soup?”

“That will be easy,” said the mouse.

“Run outside and find a nest of bees, some mud, two large stones, ten crickets, and a thorn bush.

Come back and put them all into the soup.”

Upon hearing this, the weasel leaves in search of these items while the mouse escapes to his happiness. Although Lobel’s character dynamic is similar to what is usually noted in his stories, the sensible and the foolish, the style in which he portrays these characters is an intelligent way to capture readers’ attention and keep them turning the pages. This is just one example of how his intricate ways of story telling can bring happiness and excitement to the homes of every child.

Works Cited

Lobel, Arnold.”Mouse Soup.”Harper Collins e-Books. Harper Collins e-Books, n. d. Web.  19 April. 2016. http://www.harpercollinsebooks.com

The Legacy of Arnold Lobel

Arnold Lobel’s legacy begins and ends with his contributions to children’s literature. His name resides on over 100 books that he either wrote or illustrated. All of those books will forever bring a sense of friendship and camaraderie to children all over the world, for those were some of the most important values to Lobel.

The works of Lobel were widely recognized and honored. The distinctions included: the Caldecott Medal, the Garden State Children’s Book Award, and the Newbery Honor Award. Lobel received the Caldecott Medal in 1981 from the American Library Association for his illustrations of Fables. He was also awarded the Garden State Children’s Book Award in 1977 from the New Jersey Library Association for Mouse Soup, and the Newberry Honor Award in 1973 was given for Frog and Toad Together. He has also been honored by Caldecott, as well as having books recommended by Parents’ Choice. These honors play an integral role in Arnold Lobel’s legacy, for these stories can always be found on the respective list of winners and will therefore always be recommended for children to read.

It was important, as aforementioned, for Lobel to extend a sense of welcoming and acceptance to children. As a child, these things seemed unattainable to him. His works as an illustrator and an author were to provide kids all over the world with that friendship and love that they may be lacking. He wanted to provide children with the same refuge he found at the library. Once again, his legacy resides in his contributions to children’s literature and the warm, personable, friendly characters he brings that will leave lasting impressions on the minds of future generations.

alobelSources:

Arnold Lobel. Digital image. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Apr. 2016. <http://www.carolhurst.com/graphics/alobel.jpg&gt;