Toad BOOK LOOK – Chapter 13 of 19


Chapter 13

Old Mr. Toad Shows His Tongue


To show one’s tongue, as you well know,
Is not considered nice to do;
However, if it were like Mr. Toad’s
I’d want to show it–wouldn’t you?

Old Mr. Toad thinks his tongue the most satisfactory tongue in the world. In fact, he is quite sure that without it he couldn’t get along at all, and I don’t know as he could. And yet very few of his neighbors know anything about that tongue and how different it is from most other tongues. Peter had puzzled and puzzled over the mysterious way in which bugs and flies disappeared whenever they happened to come within two inches or less of Old Mr. Toad.

What Peter couldn’t understand was what Old Mr. Toad did with a tongue that would reach two inches beyond his mouth.

“I’ll show you my tongue, and then you’ll wish you had one just like it,” said Old Mr. Toad, with a twinkle in his eyes.

He opened his big mouth and slowly ran his tongue out its full length. “Why! Oh my!” exclaimed Peter. “It’s fastened at the wrong end!”

“No such thing!” replied Old Mr. Toad. “If it was fastened at the other end, how could I run it out so far?”

“Oh, it is just that my tongue and all other tongues that I ever have seen are fastened way down in the throat,” protested Peter. “Yours is fastened at the other end, way in the very front of your mouth. I have never heard of such a thing.”

“There are a great many things you have never heard of, Peter Rabbit,” replied Old Mr. Toad. “Mine is the right way for me to have a tongue. It is fastened way up in the front of my mouth and that way I can use the whole of it. You see it goes out its full length. Then, when I draw it in with a bug on the end of it, I just turn it over so that the end that was out goes way back in my throat and takes the bug with it to just the right place to swallow.”

Peter thought this over for a few minutes before he ventured another question. “I begin to understand,” he said, “tell me, how do you hold on to the bug with your tongue?”

“My tongue is sticky,” replied Old Mr. Toad, “just let me touch a bug with it, and he’s mine every time.”

Peter thought this over. Then he felt of his own tongue. “Mine isn’t sticky,” said he very innocently.

Old Mr. Toad laughed and said “Perhaps if it was, you couldn’t ask so many questions. Now watch me catch that fly.” His funny little tongue darted out, and the fly was gone.

“It certainly is very handy,” said Peter politely. “I think we are going to have more rain, and I’d better be getting back to the dear Old Briar-patch. Very much obliged to you, Mr. Toad. Thank you for answering my questions.”

“Not at all,” replied Old Mr. Toad. “I’ve simply got the things I need in order to live, just as you have the things you need. I couldn’t get along with your kind of a tongue, no more than you could get along with mine. If you live long enough, you will learn that Mother Nature makes no mistakes. She gives each of us what we need, and each of us has different needs.”

Discover more P.L.A.Y. TOAD nature videos and adventures!



TOAD #17: Spring + Summer Curiosities

Where do the tails on these tadpoles go once they become toads?

Why do tadpoles all gather at the water’s edge and huddle so close?


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.

Toad BOOK LOOK – Chapter 12 of 19


Chapter 12

Old Mr. Toad’s Odd Tongue


Peter and Old Mr. Toad sat in the rain watching the tiny Toadlets, who were Mr. Toad’s children, leaving their playground in the Smiling Pool and starting out to see the Great World. When the last little Toadlet had passed them, Old Mr. Toad suddenly remembered that he was hungry, very hungry indeed.

“Didn’t have time to eat much while I was in the Smiling Pool,” Old Mr. Toad explained. “Couldn’t eat and sing too, and while I was down there, I was supposed to sing. Now that it is time to quit singing, I begin to realize that I’ve got a stomach to look out for as well as a voice. See that bug over there on that leaf? Watch him.”

One of the last tadpoles transitioning to a toadlet at the Smiling Pool.
Tiny Toadlet leaving the wet sandy beach at the Smiling Pool.

Peter looked, and sure enough there was a fat bug crawling along on an old leaf. He was about two inches from Old Mr. Toad, and he was crawling very fast. And right while Peter was looking at him he disappeared. Peter turned to look at Old Mr. Toad. He hadn’t budged. He was sitting exactly where he had been sitting all the time, and he was smacking his lips, and there was a twinkle of satisfaction in his eyes. Peter opened his eyes very wide.

“Wha–what–” he began.

“Nice bug,” interrupted Old Mr. Toad. “Nicest bug I’ve eaten for a longtime.”

“Hey, I didn’t see you catch him!” protested Peter, looking at Old Mr. Toad as if he suspected him of joking.

“Did you open your eyes?” inquired Old Mr. Toad.

“Yes, I did,” replied Peter just a wee bit frustrated.

“Then watch me catch that fly over yonder,” said Old Mr. Toad. He hopped towards a fly which had lighted on a stick just ahead. About two inches from it he stopped, and so far as Peter could see, he sat perfectly still.

Bye-bye Mr. Fly!

And yet the fly disappeared, and it wasn’t because it flew away, either. Peter was sure of that. As he told Mrs. Peter about it afterwards, “It was there, and then it wasn’t, and that was all there was to it.”

Old Mr. Toad chuckled. “Didn’t you see that one go, Peter?” he asked.

Peter shook his head feeling more confused then ever and said “Please, would you explain?”

Now when Peter said please that way, of course Old Mr. Toad couldn’t resist sharing.

“Here comes an ant this way. Now you watch my mouth instead of the ant and see what happens,” said Old Mr. Toad.

Peter looked and saw a big black ant coming. Then he kept his eyes on Old Mr. Toad’s mouth. Suddenly there was a little flash of red from it, so tiny and so quick that Peter couldn’t be absolutely sure that he saw it. However, when he looked for the ant, it was nowhere to be seen. Peter looked at Old Mr. Toad very hard.

“Do you mean to tell me, Mr. Toad, that you’ve got a tongue long enough to reach way over to where that ant was?” he asked.

Old Mr. Toad chuckled again. With every insect swallowed he felt better natured. “You’ve guessed it, Peter,” he said. “Handy tongue, isn’t it?”

“I think it’s a very odd tongue,” replied Peter, “and I don’t understand it at all. If it’s so long as all that, where do you keep it when it isn’t in use? I should think you’d have to swallow it to get it out of the way, or else leave it hanging out of your mouth.”

“Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!” laughed Old Mr. Toad. “My tongue is never in the way, and it’s the handiest tongue in the world. I’ll show it to you.”


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Toad BOOK LOOK – Chapter 11 of 19


Chapter 11

The Little Toads Start Out to See the World


The world is a wonderful great big place
And in it the young must roam
To learn what their elders have long since learned–
There’s never a place like home.

It had been some time since Peter Rabbit had visited the Smiling Pool to watch the pollywogs. One cloudy morning he happened to think of them and decided that he would run over there and see how they were getting along. So off he started, lipperty-lipperty-lip. He wondered if those pollywog children of Old Mr. Toad would be much changed. The last time he saw them some of them had just begun to grow legs, although they still had long tails.

He had almost reached the Smiling Pool when great big drops of rain began to splash down. And with those first raindrops something funny happened. Anyway, it seemed funny to Peter. Right away he was surrounded by tiny little Toads. Everywhere he looked he saw Toadlets, tiny little Toads just like Old Mr. Toad, only so tiny that one could have sat comfortably on a dime and still had plenty of room.

Peter’s big eyes grew round with surprise as he stared. Where had they all come from so suddenly? A minute before he hadn’t seen a single one, and now he could hardly move without stepping on one. It seemed as if each raindrop turned into a tiny Toadlet the instant it struck the ground. Of course Peter knew that that couldn’t be. It was very puzzling. And all those little Toadlets were bravely hopping along as if they were bound for some particular place.

Peter watched them for a few minutes, then he once more started for the Smiling Pool and happened to meet Old Mr. Toad sitting on the bank. He looked rather thin, and his back was to the Smiling Pool. He was hopping away from the Smiling Pool where he had been all the spring, singing in the great chorus. Peter was almost as surprised to see him as he had been to see the little Toadlets, although just then he was most interested in those little Toads.

“Good morning, Old Mr. Toad,” said Peter in his most polite manner. “Can you tell me where all these little Toadlets came from?”

Tadpole transitioning to Toadlet in the Smiling Pool

“Certainly,” replied Old Mr. Toad. “They came from the Smiling Pool, of course. Where did you suppose they came from?”

“Oh, I didn’t know. There wasn’t one to be seen, and then it began to rain, and right away they were everywhere. It almost seemed as if they had rained down out of the sky” said Peter feeling very confused.

“They’ve got good sense, if I must say it about my own children,” chuckled Old Mr. Toad. “They know that wet weather is the only weather for Toads to travel in. They left the Smiling Pool in the night while it was damp and comfortable, and then, when the sun came up, they hid, like sensible children, under anything they could find, sticks, stones, pieces of bark, grass. The minute this shower came up, they knew it was good traveling weather and out they popped.”

Tadpole almost a Toadlet with just a tail left behind

“And why, may I ask, did they leave the Smiling Pool?” Peter asked.

“To see the Great World,” replied Old Mr. Toad. ” I did the same thing myself when I was their age. Couldn’t stop me any more than I could stop them. Fine weather, isn’t it?”


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TOAD #16: Spring Magic

How long have these egg strands been here? Is there a way to know their age or “guestimate”? (Hint: dust covered vs. fresh)

Do the toads sing under water too when they are stacked together mating?

P.L.A.Y. Adventure Time 

Visit Pinterest HERE to listen closely to what it sounds like as you walk through the woods and approach the toad chorus calling at the water’s edge.

And visit Pinterest HERE to listen closely to the variations of the toad calls while also spying some mating toads amidst the egg strands in the water.


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE

Toad BOOK LOOK – Chapter 10 of 19


Chapter 10

The Smiling Pool Playground


Play a little, learn a little, grow a little too;
That’s what every pollywoggy tries their best to do.

The Smiling Pool had become a playground for the babies of Grandfather Frog, Old Mr. Toad, and Stickytoes the Tree Toad in which the babies spent their days learning and playing. All of these cousins looked considerably alike at first for they all began as pollywogs. Peter Rabbit came over every day to eagerly watch them wriggle about and it made him curious and wonder more about them.

Cluster of Tadpoles at the Smiling Pool

“I think there’s one thing about them, and that is they are not in danger the same way other babies are,” said Peter, talking to himself as is his way when there is no one else to talk to. Just then a funny little black pollywog wriggled into sight, and while Peter was watching him, a stout-jawed water beetle suddenly rushed from among the water grass, seized the pollywog by his tail, and dragged him down. Peter stared. Could it be that that bug was as dangerous an enemy to the baby Toad as Reddy Fox is to a baby Rabbit? He began to suspect so, and a little later he knew so, for there was that same little pollywog trying hard to swim and struggling because he had lost half of his long tail.

That set Peter to watching more closely and presently he discovered that pollywogs have to keep their eyes open quite as much as do baby Rabbits, if they are to live and grow up. There were several kinds of odd looking bugs forever darting out at the wriggling pollywogs. Hungry looking fish lay in wait for them, and Longlegs the Blue Heron seemed to have a special liking for them too. And yet the pollywogs were spry, and seemed to have learned to watch out.

Bird left track in mud after stopping to snack on tadpoles.

They seemed to Peter to spend all their time swimming and eating and growing. They grew so fast that it seemed to him that he could almost see them grow. And just imagine how surprised Peter was to discover one day that that very pollywog which he had seen lose his tail had grown a new one. That puzzled Peter more than anything he had seen in a long time.

“Why, I couldn’t do that!” he exclaimed right out loud.

“Do what?” asked Jerry Muskrat, who happened along just then.

“Why, grow a new tail like that pollywog,” replied Peter, and told Jerry all that he had seen. Jerry laughed.

“You’ll see funnier things than that if you watch those pollywogs long enough,” he said. “They are very interesting to watch if you’ve got the time for it. I haven’t. This Smiling Pool is a great playground for learning, and there’s something happening here every minute. There’s no place like it.”

“Are those great big fat pollywogs Grandfather Frog’s children, or Old Mr. Toad’s?” asked Peter.

“Grandfather Frog’s last year’s children,” replied Jerry. “They’ll grow into real Frogs this summer, if nothing happens to them.”

“Where are Old Mr. Toad’s last year’s children?” asked Peter.

“Don’t ask me,” replied Jerry. “They hopped away last summer. Never saw anything like the way those Toad youngsters grow. Those Toad pollywogs you see now will turn into real Toads, and be leaving the Smiling Pool in a few weeks. People think Old Mr. Toad is slow, and yet there is nothing slow about his children. Look at that little fellow over there; he’s begun to grow legs already.”

Peter looked, and sure enough there was a pollywog with a pair of legs sprouting out. They were his fore legs, and they certainly did make him look funny. And only a few days before there hadn’t been a sign of legs.

“My gracious!” exclaimed Peter. “Oh what a fun sight! And I thought my babies grew fast!”

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Toad BOOK LOOK – Chapter 9 of 19


Chapter 9

Old Mr. Toad’s Babies


The Smiling Pool’s a nursery
Where all the sunny day
A thousand funny babies
Are taught amidst their play.

Really the Smiling Pool is a learning center and playground all rolled into one. Little Joe Otter’s children learn to swim there. So do Jerry Muskrat’s babies and those of Billy Mink, the Trout and Minnow babies, and a lot more. And there you will also find the children and grandchildren of Grandfather Frog and Old Mr. Toad.

Peter Rabbit had known for a long time about the Frog babies, and yet though he knew that Old Mr. Toad was a cousin to Grandfather Frog, he hadn’t known anything about Toad babies, except that at a certain time in the year he was forever running across tiny Toads, especially on rainy days, and each little Toad was just like Old Mr. Toad, except for his size. Peter had heard it said that Toads rain down from the sky, and sometimes it seems as if this must be so. Of course he knew it couldn’t be, and yet it puzzled him a great deal. There wouldn’t be a Toad in sight. Then it would begin to rain, and right away there would be so many tiny Toads that it was hard work to jump without stepping on some.

Old Mr. Toad was sitting in his usual place. He wasn’t singing. He was staring at something in the water. When Peter said “Good morning,” Old Mr. Toad didn’t seem to hear him. He was too much interested in what he was watching. Peter stared down into the water to see what was interesting Old Mr. Toad so much and all he saw was a lot of wriggling tadpoles.

“What are you staring at, Mr. Sobersides?” asked Peter, speaking a little louder than before.

Old Mr. Toad turned and looked at Peter, and there was a look of great pride in his face. “I’m just watching my babies. Aren’t they lovely?” he said.

Peter stared harder than ever, and yet he couldn’t see anything that looked like a baby Toad.

“Where are they?” asked Peter. “I don’t see any babies, only those of Grandfather Frog, and if you ask me, I always did think tadpoles were a funny lot to see.”

Old Mr. Toad puffed up with pride and said “Those are not Grandfather Frog’s children; they’re mine and I think they are the most beautiful babies in the world!”

Peter sat straight up and said “I beg your pardon, Mr. Toad, I thought all tadpoles were Frog babies. They all look alike to me.”

“Well, they’re not,” declared Old Mr. Toad.

“Chug-a-rum!” interrupted the great deep voice of Grandfather Frog. “Are you talking about our babies? They are real beauties if I do say so myself!” he said as he smiled down upon them.

Peter just looked into the Smiling Pool and watched the wriggling pollywogs. They were more interesting now, because he had found out that some of them were Toads and some were Frogs, and he hadn’t known before that baby Toads begin life as tadpoles.


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Toad BOOK LOOK – Chapter 8 of 19


Chapter 8

A Shadow Passes Over the Smiling Pool


And so it was a beautiful spring evening. Over in back of the Purple Hills to which Old Mother West Wind had taken her children, the Merry Little Breezes, and behind which jolly, round, red Mr. Sun had gone to bed, there was still a faint, clear light. Over the Green Meadows and the Smiling Pool the shadows had drawn a curtain of soft dusk which in the Green Forest became black. The little stars looked down from the sky and twinkled just to see their reflections twinkle back at them from the Smiling Pool. And there and all around it was perfect peace. Jerry Muskrat swam back and forth, making little silver lines on the surface of the Smiling Pool and squeaking contentedly, for it was the hour which he loves best. Little Friend the Song Sparrow had tucked his head under his wing and gone to sleep among the alders along the Laughing Brook and Redwing the Blackbird had done the same thing among the bulrushes. All the feathered songsters who had made joyous the bright day had gone to bed.

A Smiling Pool in the sunny day time before the dark shadows arrive for the night.

However, this did not mean that the glad spring chorus was silent. Oh, my, no! The Green Meadows were silent, and the Green Forest was silent, and yet as if to make up for this, the sweet singers of the Smiling Pool, the hylas and the frogs and Old Mr. Toad, were pouring out their gladness as if they had not been singing most of the departed day. You see it was the hour they love best of all, the hour which seems to them just made for singing, and they were doing their best to tell Old Mother Nature how they love her, and how glad they were that she had brought back sweet Mistress Spring to waken them from their long sleep.

It was so peaceful and beautiful there that it didn’t seem possible that danger of any kind could be lurking near. And yet Old Mr. Toad, swelling out that odd music bag in his throat and singing with all his might, never once forgot to be alert and so he was the first to see what looked like nothing so much as a little detached bit of the blackness of the Green Forest floating out towards the Smiling Pool. Instantly he stopped singing. That was a signal. When he stopped singing, his nearest neighbor stopped singing, then the next one and the next, and in a minute there wasn’t a sound from the Smiling Pool save the squeak of Jerry Muskrat hidden among the bulrushes. That great chorus stopped as abruptly as the lights go out when you flip a switch.

Back and forth over the Smiling Pool, this way and that way, floated the shadow, and yet there was no sign of any living thing in the Smiling Pool. After awhile the shadow floated away over the Green Meadows without a sound.

“Hooty the Owl didn’t get one of us for dinner that time,” said Old Mr. Toad to his nearest neighbor with a chuckle of satisfaction. Then he swelled out his music bag and began to sing again. And at once, as abruptly as it had stopped, the great chorus began again as joyous as before, for due to the watchfulness of Old Mr. Toad nothing had happened to the spring chorus singers.

Toad BOOK LOOK – Chapter 7 of 19


Chapter 7

Peter Discovers Something More


There are stranger things in the world today
Than ever you dreamed could be.
There’s beauty in some of the commonest things
If only you’ve eyes to see.

Ever since Peter Rabbit was a baby bunny and then had made his own home in the dear Old Briar Patch, he had known Old Mr. Toad, and never once had Peter suspected that he could sing.

Now that they had discovered that he really has a very beautiful singing voice, they began to have a greater appreciation for Old Mr. Toad. This was especially so for Peter. He got in the habit of going over to the Smiling Pool every day just to sit on the bank and listen to Old Mr. Toad.

“Why didn’t you ever tell us before that you could sing?” he asked one day, as Old Mr. Toad looked up at him from the Smiling Pool.

“What would be the use?” replied Old Mr. Toad. “You probably wouldn’t have believed me if I had.”

Peter knew that this was true, and he couldn’t find any answer ready. At last he ventured another question. “And if I’ve known you for so long why haven’t I ever heard you sing before?”

“You have,” said Old Mr. Toad. “I sang right in this very place last spring, and the spring before, and the spring before that. You’ve sat on that very bank lots of times while I was singing.”

Peter was confused and still very curious so he ventured another question. “Have I ever heard you singing up on the meadows or in the Old Orchard?”

“Oh no,” replied Old Mr. Toad, “I only sing in the springtime at the Smiling Pool. That’s the time for singing. I just have to sing then. In the summer it is too hot, and in the winter I sleep. I always return to my old home to sing. You know I was born here. All of the toads gather here in the spring to sing, so of course I come too.”

Old Mr. Toad then filled out his odd music bag under his chin and began to sing again. Peter watched him. Now it just happened that Old Mr. Toad was facing him, and so Peter looked down straight into his eyes. He never had looked directly into Mr. Toad’s eyes before, and now he just stared and stared, for it came over him that those eyes were very beautiful, very beautiful indeed.

“Oh!” he exclaimed, “what beautiful eyes you have, Mr. Toad!”

“So I’ve been told,” replied Old Mr. Toad. “The Toad family has always had beautiful eyes. There is an old saying that every Toad has jewels in his head, of course he hasn’t, not real jewels. It is just the beautiful eyes. Excuse me, Peter, I’m needed in that chorus.” Old Mr. Toad once more swelled out his throat and began to sing.

Peter watched him a while longer and then hopped away to the dear Old Briar-patch to sit and ponder all that he had learned today about his friend Old Mr. Toad.



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TOAD #15: Magical Movement

Watch a video of these tadpoles in action on Pinterest HERE

(Above) A Curious Capkin watches the active tadpoles at P.L.A.Y. at the river’s edge on a summer’s day.


 ~ ~ ~ BOOK LOOK ~ ~ ~


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated):

A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book 

by Karen L. Willard

Join Peter Rabbit and friends on adventures discovering all about Old Mr. Toad and his days spent in and out of the water!

See sample story pages + purchase HERE

More Tadpoles + Toads in motion at PINTEREST HERE.