Jimmy Skunk and Peter Rabbit don’t know what to think. Why, Old Mr. Toad has just hopped by in the greatest hurry announcing that he is on his way to join the spring choir down at Smiling Pool. What a preposterous idea! Why, ugly Old Mr. Toad couldn’t have a voice worth listening to… could he?
Jimmy and Peter soon learn that they don’t know so much about Old Mr. Toad as they thought…
There were two primary character lessons in Old Mr. Toad – one, never assume that just because you know a person that you know all there is to know about them. Do not judge them based on a limited understanding of them.
“Never think that you have learned
All there is to know.
That’s the surest way of all
Ignorance to show.” [pg. 14]
Two, vanity is destructive, not only to one’s character, but also to one’s reputation and friendships.
“Pride is like a great big bubble;
You’ll find there’s nothing in it.
Prick it and for all your trouble
It has vanished in a minute.” [pg. 66]
““You know nothing can puff any one up quite like foolish pride. Old Mr. Toad was old enough to have known better. It is bad enough to see young and foolish creatures puffed up with pride, but it is worse to see any one as old as Old Mr. Toad that way.” [pg. 60]
I thought that Peter Rabbit showed a marked humility in learning the first lesson. Although he initially mocks the idea that Old Mr. Toad has a fine voice, he later realizes how wrong he has been.
“Funny,” mused Peter, “how we can live right beside people all our lives and not really know them at all. I suppose that is why we should never judge people hastily.” [pg. 39]
“Never again will I call anybody homely and ugly until I know all about him,” said Peter, which was a very wise decision. Don’t you think so?” [pg. 19]
“Admit your fault when you’ve done wrong, And don’t postpone it over long.” [pg. 42]
“The trouble with you, and with a lot of other people, is that you speak first and do your thinking afterward, when you do any thinking at all,” grunted Old Mr. Toad. [pg. 43]
Mother Nature is mentioned / credited three times.
Old Mother West Wind is mentioned twice.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret