Chug-arum! All of the forest folks are laughing at him, laughing at the very person that they once revered and sought out for advice. And all because he had tried to swallow a fish that was too big to fit in his mouth!
Well, Grandfather Frog won’t stand for it. No, sirree! And when his cousin, Mr. Toad, comes around bragging his head off about the Great World, well, it seems like a fine opportunity to escape from his critics and take Mr. Toad down a peg or two, as well.
But Grandfather Frog knows nothing of the risks and dangers that accompany such a bold step. Will he survive his expedition, or will his naiveté finish him off once and for all?
As always, Thornton Burgess does a superior job of weaving moral lessons into his stories. In The Adventures of Grandfather Frog he comments on
- The futility of anger.
- The dangers of greed.
- The foolishness of stubborn behavior.
- The effects of envy.
- The harmful effects of thoughtlessness.
- The folly of boasting.
Each of these points is fully demonstrated in the story.
In the first few chapters of the book, naughty Billy Mink and Little Joe Otter plan to play a disrespectful prank on Grandfather Frog. Their plan backfires when Jerry Muskrat helps Grandfather Frog.
Longlegs and Whitetail (both of whom are villains because they want to eat Grandfather Frog) call each other violent names and have a long fight with one another, causing Grandfather Frog to sagely remark,
“Dear me! Dear me! What a terrible thing and how useless anger is.” [pg. 22]
The dangers of greed are demonstrated in chapters seven and eight when Grandfather Frog attempts to swallow a fish that is much to large for him. While he is choking, several of the forest creatures laugh and mock at him.
When Grandfather Frog and his cousin Mr. Toad meet, they have a vituperative disagreement over whether it is better to live in the pond or in the Great World. Neither of them are willing to accept that they are each created for a particular environment, and in the end, Grandfather Frog sets off to disprove Mr. Toad’s assertions by living in the Great World himself. This, of course, lands him in much difficulty.
The Merry Little Breezes play a large role in this story. When Grandfather Frog gets caught by Farmer Brown’s boy, it is the Merry Little Breezes that spread the news, begging Grandfather Frog’s friends to come and help him.
The Merry Little Breezes call Striped Chipmunk ‘Stupid’.
Longlegs says that he doesn’t “see what Old Mother Nature was thinking of when she gave him [Grandfather Frog] a liking for fish.” [pg. 6] Another comment is made attributing the ability of birds to sing to Mother Nature.
Mr. Sun is mentioned several times, but he never says anything.
Conclusion. Good. My favorites in this series are still The Adventures of Peter Cottontail and The Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel, but The Adventures of Grandfather Frog plays its part admirably.
Review © 2013 Laura Verret