This book is actually a collection of five short stories:
The List tells of Toad’s decision to make a planning list, and of his slavish adherence to it. When the wind blows his list away, he refuses to do anything, because chasing his list was not on the list. This story shows a child the irrationality of untimely inflexibility.
In The Garden, Frog gives Toad some seeds to make a garden of his own. He is preposterously impatient, expecting the seeds to emerge the same day. Hilariously, he shouts at them. Frog says his shouting made the seeds afraid to grow, so Toad reads stories and poems to them, plays music to them and even lights the garden with candles. Eventually sprouts appear and the young reader sees the value of thinking about gardening sensibly.
Cookies that Toad makes are so good that he and Frog cannot stop eating them. They try to help their “will power” by boxing up the cookies, tying them up and placing them out of reach. Realizing they could undo all that whenever they wanted, they decided their will power was not sufficient and gave all the cookies to the birds. Now they *really* have will power –but integrity unchallenged is a charade. Toad goes home to make a cake!
In Dragons and Giants actions speak louder than words. Frog and Toad test their bravery while climbing a mountain. They encounter a snake, a rock avalanche and a hawk. This last sends them running home to hide under the covers, all the while proclaiming each other to be brave. It’s grand display of self delusion.
The Dream is perhaps the most profound of the five stories, presenting a lesson in justice between friends. Toad dreams he is the most proficient pianist, the best high wire walker and the best dancer. Each time he succeeds he asks if Frog can do it, but Frog cannot and gets physically smaller, until he disappears. Clearly, by flaunting his abilities to Frog, Toad is either belittling Frog, or enlarging himself. When Frog finally disappears, Toad awakes upset to find Frog is there caring for him.
Frog and Toad Together deserves the several awards it has won.