5 irresistible children's picture books

5. "City Dog, Country Frog," by Mo Willems, illustrations by Jon J. Muth

For a less exotic trip to the great outdoors, City Dog, Country Frog (Hyperion, 64 pp., $17.99) by author Mo Willems and illustrator Jon J. Muth (both Caldecott Honor winners) makes a lovely tale of an unlikely friendship. When City Dog arrives in the country, the first friend he makes is Country Frog. The two teach each other their different games and together find special ways of enjoying the beauty that surrounds them.

Every few months, when City Dog arrives in the country, the first thing he does is to seek out Country Frog.

Watching City Dog streak through Muth’s dreamy watercolors of the countryside as it slips from season to season is one of the great pleasures of this book, as are the wonderfully crafted expressions and gestures of both City Dog and Country Frog.

Sadly, theirs is a friendship destined not to last forever. But in losing Country Frog, City Dog learns a lesson. He discovers that even as the countryside is always changing yet always lovely, so friendship changes shape and form – and yet somehow remains ever constant.

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