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City Dog, Country Frog    by Mo Willems & Jon J. Muth order for
City Dog, Country Frog
by Mo Willems
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2010 (2010)
* * *   Reviewed by Bob Walch

The passage of time and the meaning of friendship are brought together in this children's picture book for youngsters three years of age and older. Known for his humorous Elephant and Piggie series, Mo Willems shows a more serious side here.

In spring City Dog can't wait to get to the country where he can run free and enjoy nature. When he spots something he has never seen before - a green frog a new friendship is born.

'What are you doing?' asks the City Dog.

'Waiting for a friend,' replies Country Frog with a smile. 'But you'll do.'

Country Frog then proceeds to teach his new buddy country games that involve jumping, splashing and, of course, croaking. Then dog goes back to the city.

When City Dog returns during the summer, he races right to the rock where he knows his friend will be waiting. 'I'm going to do you a favor,' he said. 'I am going to teach you City Dog games.'

Now the two are sniffing, fetching and barking. Well, actually Country Frog does the throwing and City Dog does the fetching.

Back again in the Fall, City Dog notices that his friend is too tired to play either city or country games. 'I am a tired frog,' says Country Frog. 'Maybe we can play remembering games.'

So they sit on the rock and remember the fun they had together during spring and summer. Then winter comes. Dog rushes to the snow covered rock, but Country Frog is nowhere to be found.

When spring arrives again, City Dog hurries out to the rock expecting to find his old green buddy. But there is no frog! While he is sitting there forlornly, a chipmunk hops up.

'What are you doing?' he asks.

'Waiting for a friend,' replies City Dog sadly. Then he smiles a froggy smile and says ... 'But you'll do.'

In this picture book that will resonate with children and adults alike, is a story with depth of meaning that sets it in a place all its own. Jon Muth's watercolors complement Willems' sparse text to make this an even more memorable reading experience.

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