Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Toad for Tuesday by Russell E. Erickson illustrated by Lawrence Di Fiori

Text Copyright © 1974 by Russell E. Erickson, Illustrations copyright  © 1974 by Lawrence Di Fiori.

My eldest child is almost 7 years old <begins wailing, "WHERE DID THE YEARS GO!">. So, while I still read pictures books everyday to my children, I am reading fewer to my eldest as he has transitioned into chapter books. Over the years, in anticipation of this time, I have collected many vintage and newer chapter books from thrift stores, library and garage sales, to read to him. Although the focus of my blog is picture books, occasionally when I find a great chapter book, I will recommend it.

A Toad for Tuesday fits the bill  and is one of the best books I have ever read to my children. It is such a suspenseful and poignant story. My intention was to read half of the 65 pages on the first day and finish it up the second day. Well, the book was so enjoyable that the kids would not let me put it down. Unfortunately, like so many great books, it is out of print.  If you are lucky, your local library will possess a copy. The Chicago Public library does, yeah! After I finished A Toad for Tuesday, the kids begged me to find more of the books. Luckily, A Toad for Tuesday is the first in a series of 7 books. I borrowed all of them and purchased the titles my library didn't own. Unfortunately, none of the sequels quite measure up to the original, but they are all enjoyable, especially Warton and the Castaways.

Enough background, let me tell you about the story. Morton and Warton are toad brothers. They reside deep in the ground together and have their roles. Morton is the gourmet cook who prepares all of their meals and Warton is the fastidious one who keeps their home immaculate. Their personalities are quite different. Warton is an impulsive adventurer, Morton is a rational homebody.
During one winter, Warton decides that he will travel to visit their Aunt Toolia to deliver some of Morton's delicious beetle brittle. Morton attempts to dissuade Warton from this dangerous trip, but Warton will not heed his advice. The ingenuous Warton fashions skis from  oak tree roots, ski poles from porcupine quills and salamander leather and sets out.

The trip begins well, but eventually Warton is snatched up by a bitter, friendless owl. The owl informs Warton that his birthday is the next Tuesday and that Warton will be his meal, hence the title A Toad for Tuesday. The book is about the relationship that forms between the two as Warton awaits his fate. 
It might be slightly intense in parts, with not 1 but 2 daring escape attempts, but my two oldest really loved this story. I will never let this wonderful thrift shop find go. I expect to read A Toad for Tuesday again and again over the years and eventually share with my future grandchildren. Excellent!!

Has anyone else read this book? If you have, please post a comment. If you have not, please beg, borrow, but don't steal it, and then share your child's opinion.


  1. I'm so glad to get this recommendation. I, too, am very interested now in great chapter books to read aloud to younger children. I've now got this one on order from the library. Sadly, our library system only carries two books from the series. Some other chapter books that my kids have loved hearing include 1) Fantastic Mr. Fox, 2) My Father's Dragon trilogy, 3) The Faraway Tree Collection by Enid Blyton, and 4) The Wishing Chair Collection by Enid Blyton. The Blyton books are dated, and the writing is formulaic, but my kids adored them.

  2. Hi Kimberly,
    Please come back after you have read A Toad for Tuesday to the kids and share your thoughts. Which 2 books in the series does your library own? I have been collecting all of Roald Dahl's books but as of yet, have not read them to the kids. I also have My Father's Dragon but have not gotten to that. It's interesting that you mention the The Faraway Tree collection because we also own and we have read the first two books. I was going to recommend it in the next Chapter Book posting that I do in a few weeks. The first 2 books are simply magical and the kids are riveted imagining the wonderful worlds at the top of the tree. I take it on long car trips to read to the kids instead of lugging 30 different picture books. I have never heard of the Wishing Chair Collection but I will try and find it. Thank you so much for your recommendations.

  3. I'm glad that you're planning to review The Faraway Tree collection for this blog. The collection is so clever and fun that it deserves to be more widely known and enjoyed by kids today.

  4. So we got A Toad for Tuesday at the library a few days ago. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my son had read it at school. I read it in its entirety last night to all three of my kids. Darling book! Now I must get hold of the other titles in the series. So the titles I found on Amazon include the following:
    - Warton's Christmas Eve Adventure
    - Warton and the Traders
    - Warton and Morton
    - Warton and the Castaways
    - Warton and the Contest
    - Warton and the King of the Skies

    Will you please tell me the order of the books? Does it matter if they're read in order?


  5. Hi Kim,

    What a coincidence that you son read it in school. I'm glad you enjoyed it, what did your kids think? I don't actually know the order of the books, but no they don't have to be read in order. Each book is completely independent of the others so no knowledge of a previous book is necessary. Warton and the Castaways, Warton and Morton, Warton's Christmas Eve Adventure, Warton and the Contest, Warton and the King of the Skies and Warton and the Traders are the order I would rank them regarding enjoyment, from best to worst. In my opinion, none are as good as A Toad for Tuesday.

  6. We all enjoyed reading A Toad for Tuesday. Thanks for the additional information about the other books in the series. Good to know that they needn't be read in order!