Mo Willems Goes Somber

City Dog Country Frog

City Dog meets Country Frog in the spring, and their friendship grows across summer and fall. But in the winter, Country Frog is nowhere to be found. In the following spring Country Frog does not emerge either. City Dog is clearly distraught.

In the end City Dog meets a new friend.

Willems leaves frog’s fate purposefully ambiguous. This prompted a lively discussion in my class. Eventually most of my students decided that Country Frog died. So we talked about death again.

I felt bad about bringing up death again until I reflected on how much of our culture pretends (or hopes) they are not getting old. How the elderly are quietly ignored in nursing homes. How death is so rarely discussed in public (or anywhere).

Then I realized the conversation was overdue. I’m glad Willems branched out, even if it makes us uncomfortable.

2 thoughts on “Mo Willems Goes Somber

  1. Great commentary about death, and I agree that it is too rarely discussed. If you are looking for more picture books on the subject, I would recommend “Can you whistle, Johanna?” by Ulf Stark and “Death, Duck, and the Tulip” by Wolf Erlbrich. Both are international but have been published in English and are very sweet and poignant, with wonderful illustrations as well.

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