A True Friend

Today’s guest post is by Edith.

Some of my favorite books are the Frog and Toad books written and illustrated by Arnold Lobel: Frog and Toad are Friends, Frog and Toad Together, Frog and Toad All Year, and Days with Frog and Toad. If you have never read these, or have never read them to a child, you are missing out on one of the most delightful friendships in the literary world.

Here is an excerpt from from one of my favorite stories: “Spring” in Frog and Toad are Friends.

Frog ran up the path to Toad’s house. He knocked on the front door. There was no answer. “Toad, Toad,” shouted Frog, “wake up. It is spring!”

“Blah,” said a voice from inside the house.

“Toad! Toad!” cried Frog. “The sun is shining! The snow is melting! Wake up!”

“I am not here,” said the voice.

Frog walked into the house. It was dark. All the shutters were closed. “Toad, where are you?” called Frog.

“Go away,” said the voice from a corner of the room. Toad was lying in bed. He had pulled all the covers over his head. Frog pushed Toad out of bed. He pushed him out of the house and onto the front porch. Toad blinked in the bright sun. “Help!” said Toad. “I cannot see anything.”

“Don’t be silly,” said Frog. “What you see is the clear warm light of April. And it means that we can begin a whole new year together, Toad. Think of it,” said Frog. “We will skip through the meadows and run through the woods and swim in the river. In the evenings we will sit right here on the front porch and count the stars.”

“You can count them, Frog,” said Toad. “I will be too tired. I am going back to bed.”

Toad does go back to bed and is very adamant that Frog should not wake him until “half past May.” Frog, however, does not want to be lonely that long and cleverly figures out a way to convince Toad to get up that day. The story ends with this sentence:

“Then he and Frog ran outside to see how the world was looking in the spring.”

I relate to Toad. I love how he says. “Blah” in this story because although I may not say “Blah” very much, I sure feel like saying it. But Frog hauls Toad out of bed to find joy in the springtime and in that I find an example of a true friend who will not let his friend wallow in bed in a dark room when spring is bursting to life outdoors. I like how Frog and Toad just enjoy doing ordinary things together and revel in simple pleasures and how they think of ways to make the other happy.

What are some of your favorite literary friendships?

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63 thoughts on “A True Friend”

  1. Rise and Shine Baboons!

    Being a pathologically obsessive reader for most of my life, there are a number of literary friendships in my life. Then with the advent of Audiobooks, (see Audible.com) I’ve made friends with some very special narrators, too.

    Authors: Laura Ingalls Wilder was my first love, along with the Third Grade Reader, “If I Were Going.” I’ve bought a battered antique copy of this as an adult. Chaim Potok, Marilyn French, (The Women’s Room), the Brontes, Harper Lee, Truman Capote. All good friends over the years.

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  2. Good morning to all. The friendship that comes to my mind is Tom Swayer and Huck. I read about Tom and Huck as a boy and saw them as adventure story characters. However, their story was much better than most adventure stories and made very good reading for a kid like me.

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  3. The friendship between Pogo and Ol’ PorkyPine is touching, deep and funny. From science fiction we have Sam and Frodo. In high literature I might nominate Nick Carraway and Jay Gatsby, although that relationship is one-sided. From movies, the “boss” and Zorba the Greek.

    Have a wonderful day, dear baboons.

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    1. I was only slightly familiar with Frog and Toad before seeing the Children’s Theater production of it. I think after that we bought a bunch of the books.

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  4. Pooh and Piglet are an enduring favorite. I love how Pooh seems to be able to reassure Piglet without realizing what he has done – they are constant friends who understand each others quirks and remain steadfast throughout. A newer favorite from local author Kate De Camillo and her pal Alison McGhee is “Bink and Gollie” – the illustrator has drawn two fabulous little girls, each irrepressible in their own way – and what’s not to love about a friendship that includes pancakes and striped socks?

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    1. I bought Bink & Gollie for Lola, who is “Bink” to her friend Daisy’s “Gollie” – characters are so much like the two of them it’s spooky!

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      1. Pretty sure I am Bink to my bestest pal’s Gollie…and Daughter has her own Bink (she’s the Gollie in that relationship). Love the book. It’s a compromise bonanza! :)

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  5. The friendship between Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Lion was sweet. Loved how they were so supportive of each other.

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    1. I was so scared of the flying monkeys that I’ve never been able to develop an appreciation for that movie. Funny how those childhood things will linger…

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      1. Back when I was still an only child, so about 3 years old, my mother thought we should watch that. I was utterly terrified, so she suggested we should perhaps just turn it off.

        Noooooooooooooo!

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  6. If we include the movies in the search for litterary friendships, there are a lot of them that come to mind. Many of the cowboy movies featured a heroic figure and his bumbling side kick. The one I remember is Roy Rodgers and Gabby Hayes. Roy Rodgers was one of my favorites and Gabby was one of the best side kicks. Comedy duos are another group of movie possibilties including people like Abbott and Costello.

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  7. The friendship of Leslie in Bridge to Terabithia is very special, but just thinking about them makes me want to cry.

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    1. CORRECTION The friendship of Leslie and Jesse in Bridge to Terabithia is very special, but just thinking about them makes me want to cry.

      Reply

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  8. Greetings! I’m not very literary, but few things can match the loyalty and longevity of the classic triad — Kirk, Bones and Spock.

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  9. Good topic, Edith, thanks. What comes immediately to mind is Anne Frank and her diary, she even had named it “Kitty.” I’m sure there others that will surface, be back later.

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  10. Great topic to be pondering, Edith. I have not read any of the Frog and Toad books, a void I’ll have to remedy, so I can’t comment on that relationship. In my mind, I’m scrolling through books I’ve read, both as a child and an adult, and contemplating the complexities of the relationships in them. I’m struck by how important and varied friendships are. Friendships between women are particularly well represented in what I’ve read. I’m thinking of books like The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, The Secret Life of Bees, The Joy Luck Club, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Help, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe and many others. Of course, great literary friendships also include friendships between men, between men and women, between people of different races, different generations, religions, even between species. Charlotte’s Web in a favorite, and now that I think of it, so are Dead Poets Society, Shawshank Redemption, House on the Corner Between Bitter and Sweet, The Heart is Lonely Hunter and so many more. Our lives are so much richer because of books and true friends.

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  11. This topic keeps drawing me back to the libraries of my childhood. In The Secret Garden the friendship of Mary, Dickon, and Colin is truly life-giving.

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  12. Wilbur and Charlotte – I’ve always loved their friendship.

    “Why did you do all this for me?” he asked. “I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’
    You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
    ― E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web

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  13. Anne Shirley and Diana Barry.

    In a lot of ways that count, they had nothing in common and I think were often quite puzzled by each other, but genuinely loved each other and were absolutely loyal.

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  14. Rat and Mole in Wind In the Willows. The chapter Dulce Domum can stand alone as a Christmas story. It is available online – http://www.writewords.org.uk/library/9028.asp. (It’s a little early in the season, but you could bookmark it and read it after Thanksgiving.)

    Kenneth Grahame’s writing in the book is just sublime.

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    1. I was going to bring up Rat and Mole, too. So many great characters in that book, but I especially like Rat and Mole’s friendship.

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  15. Damon–Puthias
    Ishmael–Queeqeg
    Bruce Pearson–Henry Wiggin
    Sam–Frodo
    Gimli–Legalos
    Chingachacook–Natty Bumpo
    Ike McCaslin–Sam Fathers
    Jim Burden–Antonia Shimerda
    Athos–Porthos–Aramis

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    1. Clyde – just back from Duluth – asked husband Edith’s question over lunch. his answer was Ishmael and Queequeg. because at first Ishmael thought Q might eat him, but diidn’t. :-) that’s a good friend.

      not literary, but i’d say Rocky and Bullwinkle.
      now i gotta go to Moose Lake to take Juju to her first prom. her date will be “Top of the Line” also known as Topper. no bowler hat, though.

      fun to read – thanks, Edith!

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    2. of course, Sam and Frodo/ Gimli and Legolas-I should have thought of that!
      and for good measure, Gandalf and Bilbo. I really do think of them more as friends than as mentor and student.

      And, since no one else said it and in spite of the fact that some of you don’t care for the books-Harry, Ron and Hermione.

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  16. I can’t find my little #&*(%@) notebook where I keep track of what I’ve read – I know there are others I’m not remembering. Not at the height of literary, but Maeve Binchy books like Light a Penny Candle have lost of good friend themes. And in my favorite Jane Eyre, she finally found friendship with those cousins living out on the moors. I’m sure some of the contemporary women authors, too.

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    1. Now THAT’S a good idea – a notebook to keep track of what you’ve read. I wish I did that – but I’m pretty sure I’ve tried before and could never find the notebook. I keep starting notebooks – for garden plans, books read or to read, organizing ideas, etc. etc. and they all end up buried in a dusty corner somewhere.

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  17. OK: Beezus and Ramona. And Henry Huggins and Beezus.
    And I’ll second the vote for Diana and Anne in the Anne of Green Gables series.

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  18. Apropos of absolutely nothing, except two things to day made me think of this delightful piece of prose:
    Call me Ishmael. Some years ago–never mind how long precisely–having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off–then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship.

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