Summer Reading List: Arnold Lobel

There is no more requested title in our small library of children’s book’s than Mouse Soup by Arnold Lobel. A part of the “I Can Read!” series, Mouse Soup is wonderful for a beginner reader. But its simple illustrations and imaginative short stories make for a great book to read out loud to your preschooler too.

Growing up, Arnold Lobel was a personal favorite. And looking back, I wonder why this master storyteller did not garner more awards. Because even when I picked up these books after not having looked at them for over twenty years, I easily recalled almost every story and the artwork that carried the story along.


For those of you not familiar with Mr. Lobel, I’ll tell you about our favorites. Mouse Soup is our favorite – along with the companion book – Mouse Tales. The stories, following the sometimes far-fetched antics of a mouse, allowed for wild imaginings and giggles from my twin boys.

But in classic Lobel style, each of these short stories is woven together so that before a child knows it, he or she is being taught to fit them together. And while the genius behind this beginning reading format did not begin with Lobel, it certainly makes his simple stories shine.

Lobel is also famous for his Owl at Home series, which offers a new twist in the ‘I Can Read Series.’ Owl’s adventures take place in his cozy (and adorable) tree house where he tackles big themes children often wrestle with, such as the feeling of smallness, fear of the dark/unknown, and more.

And as usual, Lobel frames these subjects with understated humor. For instance, the two odd bumps under the covers at the foot of Owl’s bed, turn out to be his own two feet.  And while the feathered main character never figures it out, Lobel carefully guides the reader to this silly conclusion with great charm.

Growing up, Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad series was also a favorite in our house. For a child, the theme of great friendship resonates deeply and the adventures endured by these two unlikely are both funny and inspiring. The reader is introduced to the honor of friendship when Frog mistakes Toad (who is covered in melted ice cream he is sacrificially bringing to his friend) for a monster. And Lobel illustrates genuine care and concern between the pair when lively Frog, who is intent on cheering his good friend, insists that gloomy Toad leave his cozy house for a romp in the snow.

Arnold Lobel is a wonderful author to add to your child’s summer reading list. His stories are inspiring, funny, and also quite surprising. We hope you enjoy them as much as we do!

Check out our other summer reading recommendations: Virginia Lee Burton.

 ”The weasel put the mouse in a coking pot. ‘WAIT!’ SAID THE MOUSE. ‘This soup will not taste good. It has no stories in it’.”

Arnold Lobel, Mouse Soup

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About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.