Human and the Animal World, and The Non-existent Line Between!

By Himanshu Nimbhorkar

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“Books to the ceiling,
Books to the sky,
My pile of books is a mile high.
How I love them! How I need them!
I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them.”

Mr Lobel states he cannot think of any other work that could be more agreeable and fun than making books for children. And yes, he daydreams, describing his very job as that of a daydreamer.

Arnold Stark Lobel, popularly known for his ‘Frog and Toad’ series, was an American author and illustrator of children’s books. His stories centered around friendship and love, unfolding in a fantastical world, with creatures inheriting human emotions, and spreading goodness.

The fact that Lobel and his wife resided in an apartment right opposite to a zoo, and his occasional visits to this zoo with kids along, helped him draw inspirations from the animals inhabiting the very same zoo. These influences in some form or shape found a mention in his writings.

Lobel’s long writing and illustrating journey, spanning across hundreds of books, begin with ‘A zoo for mister muster’. Not too difficult to connect the dots here? (Just as mentioned above). The book revolves around the supremely pure bond between humans and animals, as the mister muster who regularly visits his animal friends across the street right into a zoo, fails to make it one day due to poor weather, leading to the animals missing him and his presence, and eventually they decide upon visiting his apartment themselves. And the drama continues to unfold further. Quite a sweet, heartwarming premise!

Lobel went on to write a number of books in the following years, ‘Prince Bertram the bad’, ‘A holiday for mister muster’, ‘Giant John’, ‘Lucille’, ‘The bears of the air’, ‘Martha the movie mouse’, and many more.

Lobel’s highly acclaimed ‘Frog and Toad’ series consists of a collection of short stories in every book, which revolve around an overlap between human and animal world. Simple, sweet, innocent situations and conflicts fill our heart with joy, as we move from one book over to the next. This series of books teaches us the value of kindness, friendship, love and humanity.

Borrowing heavily from his own life and experiences, Lobel wrote about things relatable to him on a personal level, and gave it a childlike flavor, making it accessible from an all round perspective. The writing style always stayed simple in terms of the vocabulary, easy to comprehend, and fun to read. A cozy, comforting vibe accompanied Lobel’s books and illustrations all throughout.

“I cannot see anything.”
“Don’t be silly,” said Frog.
“What you see is the clear warm light of April. And it means that we can begin a whole new year together, Toad. Think of it,” said Frog.
“We will skip through the meadows and run through the woods and swim in the river. In the evenings we will sit right here on this front porch and count the stars.”

An excerpt straight from the master’s desk. A new adventure awaits!

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