University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
Print
Find us on Facebook Blogger Twitter Pinterest   

Title and Author: “The Garden” from Frog and Toad Together by Arnold Lobel

Field of Philosophy: Ethics; Logic

Plot Summary: When Toad sees Frog’s beautiful garden, Toad decides that he, too, would like to have a garden. Frog gives Toad some seeds for Frog to plant in the soil. After Toad plants the seeds, he shouts to them that they should start growing—but it doesn’t work. Frog suggests that Toad is scaring the seeds with all the shouting, so Toad experiments with reading poems to the seeds and playing music for them. Still, the seeds do not grow. Eventually, Toad falls asleep, but when he wakes up he sees that the seeds have started to grow. Toad then reports to Frog that growing a garden is “hard work”.

Some discussion questions:

Toad’s garden starts to grow after Toad sings and reads to his seeds. Therefore, Toad assumes that his reading and singing has caused the garden to grow. Is Toad’s assumption correct?
If B occurs after A, does this mean that A caused B? Why or why not? Illustrate your answer with an example.
Toad says that Frog’s garden is beautiful. What makes a garden beautiful or not beautiful?
What makes a forest, stream or volcano beautiful?
Is nature beautiful in the same way that other things are beautiful (like music and art)?
Frog tells Toad that the seeds are “frightened to come out” after Toad yells at the seeds. What might Frog mean by this?
How should humans treat nature? What is the appropriate way for humans to behave when interacting with trees, vegetables, rivers and rocks?
Is it wrong to cut down a tree unnecessarily? Why or why not?