Karen MacPherson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that this year marks the 25th anniversary of Arnold Lobel's Frog and Toad series. This first book in the series, Frog and Toad Are Friends, won a Caldecott Honor in 1970.
When he was asked how he came up with the idea for the characters, Lobel, speculated that his inspiration came from a summer his family spent in the Vermont countryside.
Lobel, who died in 1987, wasn't much of a nature-lover, but his two children reveling in roaming around outside and bringing home treasures, such as frogs and toads.
In her book, "100 Best Books for Children," Anita Silvey writes that, by 1968, after several years of writing and illustrating, Lobel personally felt that he had been writing at children, rather than for them.
"Then as he thought back to the Vermont summer ... he wrote the line 'Frog ran up the path to Toad's house.' From that moment on, the story seemed to pour forth, [and] hones fragments of Lobel's feelings about himself and his children."
Lobel used a limited color palette for his illustrations that "manages to create a cozy world of country walks." Leonard S. Marcus, a children's book critic and scholar summarizes,
"Everyone can relate to Frog and Toad because they don't exist in this world," Lobel once said.
"Frog and Toad belong to no one, but they belong to everyone, every sector: rich children, poor children, white children, black children."
This is a lovely article, be sure to read the whole thing!