IIlustrations by Ellie Hajdu.

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Toad was writing an email.

Suddenly, the Wi-Fi disconnected.

Toad restarted his computer.

The Wi-Fi still was not working.

“Frog,” Toad yelled to the other room. “The Wi-Fi is not working.”

“That is strange,” Frog called back. “It is working for me.”

Toad checked his Wi-Fi settings.

“It says the signal is fine,” he yelled. “But it is lying.”

Toad went to the router.

He unplugged it and plugged it back in.

“Now, router,” said Toad. “Start working.”

Toad waited.

The lights on the router blinked on.

The Wi-Fi was still not working.

Toad restarted the router again.

“Now, router,” said Toad. “Start working.”

The lights blinked on.

The Wi-Fi was still not working.

Toad shook the router.

“NOW, ROUTER!” yelled Toad. “START WORKING!”

Frog ran into the room.

“Why are you yelling?” he asked.

“This router is terrible,” cried Toad. “It will not connect to my computer!”

“Maybe try moving your computer closer to the router?” said Frog.

“But please stop shouting. I am trying to work.”

Frog left the room.

Toad looked at the router.

He moved his computer closer.

He tried to connect to the internet.

He kicked the router.

“You are my nemesis,” said Toad.

“What was that?” called Frog.

“Nothing,” said Toad.

- - -


Frog and Toad were walking home.

Every time they passed a stranger, Toad smiled and waved.

Sometimes the stranger smiled back.

Mostly, no one seemed to notice.

“Whew!” said Toad, rubbing his cheeks. “Smiling is hard work!”

“You do not have to smile,” said Frog.

“I know,” said Toad. “I smile because I need everyone to like me.”

“Everyone?” asked Frog.

Toad nodded. “It is exhausting.”

“Toad,” said Frog. “How do you know they do not like you?”

Toad stopped in his tracks.

“I do not know,” said Toad slowly.

“What if,” said Frog, “they are not thinking about you at all?”

“Oh,” said Toad, his eyes wide in disbelief. “That would be very good.”

Frog reached over and squeezed Toad’s hand.

“If it helps,” said Frog, “I like you the best.”

“That does help,” said Toad.

“Maybe, if you think about that,” said Frog, “you will not need everyone to like you.”

At that moment, a field mouse walked down the street.

“Give it a try,” said Frog. “Practice on him!”

“All right,” said Toad.

The mouse came closer.

“Remember,” whispered Frog, “you do not care if he likes you.”

Toad narrowed his eyes with focused firmness.

The mouse was very close now.

Toad held his breath.

He leveled his eyes to meet the mouse’s passing gaze.

Then he smiled and waved furiously.

The mouse looked confused and walked away quickly.

“I thought you did not need everyone to like you anymore,” said Frog, exasperated.

“I do not need it,” said Toad. “But I want it very much.”

- - -

Bank Account

Toad stood in front of an ATM.

He took a deep breath.

Toad put his card into the machine.

“Hello,” read the ATM. “Please enter your PIN.”

“Blah,” said Toad.

He entered his birthday.

The machine beeped.

“Please try again,” read the ATM.

“Um…” said Toad.

He entered Frog’s birthday.

The machine beeped again.

“One try remaining,” read the ATM.

Toad’s brow furrowed.

“Four digits,” muttered Toad. “Four digits, four digits…wait!”

Toad typed in 8623.

The ATM screen blinked its approval.

Of course, thought Toad. 8623 spells Toad, and I am Toad.

“Checking or Savings,” read the ATM.

Toad took a nervous pause.

He clicked “Savings.”

“Your balance,” read the ATM, “is $16.”

“Phew,” said Toad. “It is all in there.”

- - -


Toad pulled cookies out of the oven.

He set them on a rack to cool.

Frog came into the kitchen, sniffing.

“Those cookies smell very good,” said Frog.

Toad took a bite.

“Frog, Frog,” cried Toad, “taste these cookies!”

Frog ate one of the cookies.

“These are the best cookies I have ever eaten!” said Frog.

Frog and Toad ate many cookies, one after another.

“You know, Toad,” said Frog, “I think we should stop eating—”

Toad held up his hand.

“Not another word,” said Toad, with his mouth full.

“This week has been hard enough.”

“You are right,” agreed Frog, reaching for another cookie.

Frog and Toad ate all the cookies.

Once they were done, they lay down for an afternoon nap.

It was the best day.

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From the book, Frog and Toad Are Doing Their Best [A Parody]: Bedtime Stories for Trying Times by Jennie Egerdie, illustrated by Ellie Hajdu. Reprinted by permission of Running Press, part of the Perseus division of Hachette Book Group. Copyright © 2021 by Jennie Egerdie.

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Frog and Toad Are Self-Quarantined Friends and Frog and Toad Tentatively Go Outside After Months in Self-Quarantine.”