Poetry Friday: There Was a Frog


As the literacy specialist in a K-8 school, I have many roles and responsibilities on any given day. For the most part I enjoy them all. But hands down, the best part of my day is working with students. I work with first grade students through our RTI process (known as SRBI, Scientifically Research Based Instruction, in Connecticut). We begin each lesson with a poem to “warm up our ears.” The students choose one or two previously read poems to read to themselves, and then we read a new one together. Over the years, I’ve noticed particular poems that all the children seem to love. Many of these favorites come from The Frogs and Toads All Sang (HarperCollins, 2009), by Arnold Lobel.


These poems were written and illustrated as a gift to writer Crosby Bonsall and her husband. Decades later, they were discovered at Bonsall’s estate auction and brought to the attention of Adrianne Lobel, Arnold’s stage-designing daughter. She added color to her father’s illustrations and this wonderful book was born. You can listen to Adrianne Lobel describe the process here:

By June, my first grade students are well on their way as readers. Lobel’s poems provide just the right balance of familiar and challenging words, not to mention the fact that the poems are about frogs and toads. (Not the Frog and Toad, but I haven’t met too many first graders who don’t love these charming amphibians.) In addition, these poems are silly. See for yourself.

There Was a Frog

by Arnold Lobel

There was a frog

Who had a car.

He drove it fast.

He drove it far.

He traveled

Fifty days and nights

And never

Looked at traffic lights.

“I learned to drive

Quite easily,

But I never learned

To stop,” said he.

What’s not to love about that? If you’re looking for the perfect summer read for any frog and toad loving first grader (or any primary grader, for that matter), this book is it.

Be sure to visit Margaret at Reflections on the Teche for today’s Poetry Friday Roundup