Warton and the Traders

Our rating: ****½

Warton sets off once again to visit his Aunt Toolia, this time to deliver some canned goods. On the way, he meets two woodrats and helps them escape from a wildcat. The woodrats tell Warton that they live in The Bogs and that the wildcat had been plaguing their colony for several days. When he arrives at his aunt’s house, Warton finds that Aunt Toolia has been missing for some time and, with the help of a whippoorwill, finds her in the the dangerous Bogs caring for an injured fawn. Knowing that two small toads cannot possibly cart enough food for such a large animal, Warton leaves to locate the colony of woodrats and enlist their help. But the woodrats insist that everything be a trade, and Warton has nothing to offer in return for their help in feeding the fawn—unless he can find some way to get rid of the wildcat.

Warton and the Traders is perfect for younger readers who want more than a short picture book, but it is written in a way that appeals to the older crowd as well. The story is well-told, amusing and has no objectionable material. Warton and the Traders is part of a series about Warton and Morton, the first being A Toad for Tuesday, with the others following in no particular order.

Frog and Toad Are Friends

Our rating: ***½

This book contains five stories about Frog and Toad, in which spring comes and Frog tries to wake Toad up, Toad tries to think of a story to tell Frog, Toad loses a button, Frog and Toad go swimming, and Toad is unhappy because he never gets any mail.

Light-hearted tales that are fun to read aloud. My favorite is the one where Toad tries to think up a story, perhaps because I myself am a writer. If you enjoy this book, you may want to also read Frog and Toad Together.

A Toad for Tuesday

Our rating: ****

Warton and Morton are two toads that live underground together. One day in the middle of winter, Warton decides to take Morton’s wonderful beetle brittle to their Aunt Toolia. Morton tries to talk his brother out of the idea. Warton insists, saying that he’ll wear several sweaters and will travel with skis. Finally, Warton sets out. Later that day, he meets a field mouse who says that an owl lives in the woods where Warton will be traveling. This owl hunts by day instead of by night. Since Warton still wants to deliver his beetle brittle, the mouse gives him a scarf and offers the help of several friends if Warton gets in trouble. Once in the woods, Warton is captured by the owl to be eaten on the owl’s birthday. Warton has only five days to plan an escape.

A Toad for Tuesday is the first book in a series about Warton and Morton. Part of the ending is hinted at during the story so it isn’t a complete surprise, but it still makes a good end to an imaginative story. The horde of skiing mice may generate a few chuckles. This book is longer and a bit more complicated than the traditional picture book, making it an enjoyable choice for younger readers in general or for older readers who want a good quick read.

Frog and Toad Together

Our rating: *****

Five stories about Frog and Toad, in which Toad makes a list of things to do and can’t do anything that is not on his list, Frog has a garden and Toad wants one also, Toad makes cookies and he and Frog must stop eating them using will power, Frog and Toad decide to see how brave they are and Toad has a very disturbing dream.

These stories are absolutely hilarious! Toad is the sort who likes everything to go just the right way and doesn’t like to wait either. Frog is quiet and willing to try things again. I think my favorite story in this book is the one about the cookies. And of course there’s Toad’s ever-present phrase: “Blah.” I highly recommend this book for younger readers.

Freddy and the Space Ship

Our rating: ***½

There’s trouble at the Bean farm! Mr. Bismuth and his family have moved in. They’re doing a lot of damage but the Beans can’t throw them out because Mrs. Bismuth is Mrs. Bean’s cousin! While that’s going on, Uncle Ben completes his space ship and, along with Freddy the pig, Georgie the dog, Jinx the cat, Charles the rooster, and Mrs. Peppercorn, they set out on a trip to Mars. Then, when Mrs. Peppercorn accidentally throws them off course, they’re knocked off to a strange planet inhabited by dangerous Martians!

Very enjoyable! Mrs. Peppercorn is also in other books, such as Freddy and the Dragon, and Freddy and the Baseball Team from Mars.