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Arnold Lobel

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A childhood of illness and financial restraint is the source of much of Arnold Lobel’s inspiration.  He was born on May 22, 1933 in Los Angeles, California to young newlyweds who had moved there seeking gold.  When Arnold was only six months old, they moved back to their hometown of Schenectady, New York, where he grew up in a “large and ramshackle” house with a large sloped lawn and many trees.

Arnold Lobel

Arnold Lobel and Illness

Because of his illness and frequent hospitalizations, feelings of isolation were common for Lobel as a child , but as he grew, his health improved and he grew to love drawing.  His love and talent for drawing were rewarded by acceptance to the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, which was followed by a career in art that quickly turned into his passion for both illustrating and writing for children

Arnold Lobel wrote and illustrated almost 100 books. He died on December 4, 1987. Of what he felt inspired him, he said, "When I write my stories, I always sit in the same chair.".  According to Lobel, most of his books come from his experience as a child, and most of his characters are “child substitutes”.

Frog and Toad Together.  This 1971 book by Arnold Lobel is the sequel to his Caldecott Honor Book winner Frog and Toad are Friends.  It continues in the same form as its predecessor, containing five short stories about two friends, Frog and Toad.

Lobel's Frog and Toad Together

In the first story “The List,” Toad pursues the child-like game of role-playing as he tries to become organized by using a list.  In “The Garden,” Toad plants seeds and expects them to grow instantly, standing by to watch the miracle occur.  Frog and Toad both project human-like qualities to the seeds just as many children do to various inanimate objects, even to the point of believing that the seeds are afraid of the dark.

Much of Arnold Lobel’s childhood, due to illness, was spent alone, looking out the window at the world from the deck of the hospital where he stayed.  Ample time to think gave him a rich memory of child-like thoughts about solitude and separation, which are portrayed in the Frog and Toad books.

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