TOAD #9: Read Aloud – Chapter 9 of The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated)


FREE! Read Aloud by Karen creator of P.L.A.Y. of The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (annotated)  on Pinterest HERE.

Old Mr. Toad’s baby tadpoles have sprouted legs!


The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad (Annotated): A P.L.A.Y. Nature Activity Story Book by Karen L. Willard purchase HERE.

Author Insight:

My love of children’s literature and being out in nature all came creatively together when I chanced upon the 100+ year old Thornton Burgess books with so many of his stories written in New England nature settings. The animal characters have their adventures throughout the Green Forest in plenty of familiar places like: Peter Rabbit with his home in the Old Briar-patch, Jenny Wren building a nest in the Old Orchard, and Old Mr. Toad visiting the Smiling Pool created by the nearby Laughing Brook. These nature scenes are found throughout the area I live in too and I visit these magical peaceful places daily to immerse in a “sense of wonder” and to make creative connections.


If you’d like to visit spaces like these in nature I’ve got great news, simply follow these two steps:

  1. Step out your door and get to know your surrounding nature spots be it in your yard or neighborhood, local community, bordering towns, or beyond. There are so many hidden wonders to explore and adventures to be had throughout the seasons. Set aside some P.L.A.Y. time to connect with nature and be sure to bring along your curious Capkin too!
  2. Try a copy of this nature story activity book for inspiration and to ignite your naturally creative imagination. Odds are once you read this story you and your family will be eager to get out and explore all the magical spaces in “your neck-of-the-woods”.

More Author Insights:

I have started re-writing many books in the Thornton Burgess nature series as they are now available for use in the public domain beginning with The Adventures of Old Mr. Toad and The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver as well as the most recent FREE ONLINE edition of The Burgess Bird Book for Children with both chapter-by-chapter story and activities unfolding HERE on P.L.A.Y..

I have updated these stories for the 21st century family by keeping the same old nature settings and some of the same story line and giving the characters a new opportunity to model compassionate communication and loving kindness. 

I have also provided bonus materials to interact with the book:

  • Nature photos taken here in New England
  • Spaces for the reader to illustrate each chapter as they creatively see it
  • Curious question prompts for conversations with friends and family
  • Resources online and book suggestions to continue the adventure

Gifting this book to a kiddo in your life, a family in your neighborhood, or simply passing P.L.A.Y. forward are ways to keep nature connections alive and well.

Thanks for sharing and caring!!!

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BOOK LOOK Spring Guide for Nature Alliteration Adventures by Karen L. Willard

Join the SPRING P.L.A.Y. adventures by purchasing HERE!

Nature Alliteration Adventures: The Spring Guide

Over 90+ outdoor adventures designed for March + April + May

*Some access to snow + ice recommended for this P.L.A.Y. guide book.

by Karen L. Willard

Spring is just around the bend with the final bands of snow coming through and the white stuff melting off the southern slopes up here in the north west corner of Massachusetts.

There are still a few ice adventures in store down at the brook and river with the melting run off beginning to raise the water levels too.

Buds and blooms are slowly appearing with a few insects taking the lead as they make their way on the muddy surfaces and taking flight.

So many new and exciting wonder and wander moments ahead as nature unfolds into the next season of renewal.

Time to SPRING into action and join the P.L.A.Y. nature adventures with family and friends!

Draw, write, color, and creatively capture your discoveries

on the pages of your Nature Adventure book!

Purchase your P.L.A.Y. guides HERE.

BOOK LOOK -Forest Has a Song -poems by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

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Forest Has a Song

Poems by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater

Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.

P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Pleasant Poetry All Year & All Ages

Nature News & Noticing

Whimsical Words & P.L.A.Y.-ful Poetry

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: Forest News (p. 8) – What can your read on the forested landscape today?
  • Super Challenge: Is it easier to read the news when there is mud or snow? Compare the two experiences and find out.
  • Super-Duper Challenge: Invitation (p. 4) – Here is an invitation to sketch or paint a scene that matches this piece of poetry -OR- pick a different poem to design artwork that reflects what you see in your minds eye.
  • Super Spectacular Challenge: Does something out in nature call to you? Do you think you might write a poem? Rhyming ramblings or a simple sentence? Whatever works!

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially playful nature themed story books!

  Be sure to visit and support your local library! ❤ ❤ ❤

BOOK LOOK – Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman

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Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night

by Joyce Sidman

Karen’s short + long of it with P.L.A.Y.ful story preview & P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions.

P.L.A.Y.ful story preview (short):

Adventures included: Nectar to Nocturnal and Wax to Wane

Plenty of Nighttime Nature P.L.A.Y.-filled Poetry

Engaging with Evening Events unfolding art-fully

P.L.A.Y.-filled activity adventure suggestions (long):

  • Challenge: Watch from your window on a summer’s night or venture out your door and listen for the swish and swoop of bat’s feasting over open fields. What are they eating in the night sky? (poem p. 26)
  • Super Challenge: Can you create a ballad for a bug or critter you find in the fields or forest? Write just a few catchy lines that share the secrets of what they are up to – day or night! (poem p. 24)
  • Super-Duper Challenge: Oh What Will We Find on the Forest Floor? Look for a spot in the forest where mushrooms grow. Revisit the same spot, especially after damp days and watch for things to magically change overnight. What changes do you see? (poem p. 22)
  • Super Spectacular Challenge: Did you solve who is the Dark Emperor? Have you seen one? or heard WHO-O-O it is?!?

Capkins LOVE to be read to – especially playful nature themed story books!

  Be sure to visit and support your local library! ❤ ❤ ❤


Seasonal Gifts That Keep on Giving!

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New P.L.A.Y. title available  <HERE>!

The Adventures of Paddy the Beaver (Annotated) by Karen L. Willard

This new nature activity story book will provide hours of read aloud or independent reading enjoyment for kids and adults alike as you discover all about the habits of beavers in a New England setting wrapped in a fun-filled adventure spanning one year and all four seasons.

Rediscover this 100+ year old story and characters by Thornton Burgess in this new updated edition with language for the 21st century family modeling loving kindness and opportunities for the woodland characters to practice mindfulness as they go about their days.

From building his home and storing foods to engaging with new friends in the Green Forest and leaving a tail trail in the winter snow Paddy the Beaver has plenty of adventures just waiting to be shared with you.

 * BONUS *

  • Each chapter has illustration boxes to be completed by the reader.
  • Curious Questions and P.L.A.Y. Photos provide opportunities for family discussions and further playful investigations.
  • Tree themed coloring and nature journaling pages to share your creative view of the natural world.
  • Recommended Resources suggesting both picture and chapter books for your P.L.A.Y. adventures.

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Time to get ready to P.L.A.Y. throughout the WINTER season!

<Purchase Here>

This is a P.L.A.Y.-filled nature guide, with open-ended activities and a fun alliteration twist, encouraging kids and families to explore and connect to the great outdoors daily throughout the winter season.

Each of the 90+ pages provides a new adventure prompt for play-and-seek in nature and a place to capture the memories of these magical moments by drawing, writing, and creatively expressing yourself in this book.

The matching daily blog pages found on this website provide support and inspiration for your seasonal outings including stories about the very curious Capkins who add charm and creativity to every opportunity taken to walk in wonder.

This book is designed specifically for the months of December, January, and February with access to ice and snow recommended.

Visiting a field or forest, a meadow or mountain, a brook or your own backyard with this book you are provided the opportunity to get curious, embrace the simple gift of spending time outdoors, and to foster a daily habit of P.L.A.Y. and connection with your own true nature.

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