Arnold Lobel’s beloved characters have delighted and amused generations of readers since the publication of Frog and Toad Are Friends in 1970. Little did he know at the time that Frog and Toad would endure and go on to receive some of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature, including Newbery and Caldecott Honors, and be named to almost every roundup of all-time best children’s books.

As HarperCollins Children’s Books gears up for a 50th anniversary celebration of the brand, there are many reasons we have such affection for Frog and Toad. Perhaps the biggest is that Lobel got friendship so right. His beloved characters are generous, optimistic, sometimes grumpy and gloriously human.

Whether they’re learning to fly a kite, resisting the temptation to eat an entire plate of cookies or searching for a lost button, one thing is for certain — Frog and Toad are always there for each other — just as best friends should be.

The publisher has put together a special kit to help celebrate the landmark occasion, everything from hosting a special friendship-themed event in bookstores, classrooms or libraries. It has ideas for Frog and Toad costumes, activities, read-alouds, audiobook narrations (even from Lobel), plantings, friendship bracelets, coloring activities, snack ideas and more.

The first book in the series — which this year is 50 years old — is Frog and Toad Are Friends, a Level Two I Can Read book geared for kids ages 4 to 6 who read on their own but still need a little help.

———Photo by Ian Anderson

About Arnold Lobel:

Arnold Lobel (1933–1987) illustrated many wonderful children’s books but is most beloved for his Frog and Toad stories, including the first one, Frog and Toad Are Friends, published in 1970. The books have garnered much acclaim, including a Caldecott Honor for Frog and Toad Are Friends and a Newbery Honor for Frog and Toad Together. These were followed by Frog and Toad All Year and Days with Frog and Toad.