Frog Meets Dog by Janee Trasler (+giveaway)

My pal Janee Trasler is an author, illustrator, and esteemed member of PBJeebies, our critique group with Kim Norman and Jessica Young.

I asked Janee to stop by Picture Book Builders and give us a little insight into creating an early reader series. Lucky for us, she said YES!

The first book in Janee’s series is called Frog Meets Dog.

This is what Kirkus and Booklist had to say….

“An early reader for the earliest of readers. Trasler’s cartoon illustrations heighten the humor of her spare text, which has ample rhymes and assonance to support new decoders… Reader, meet Frogs and Dog–you won’t be sorry.” — Kirkus

“Many elements combine to make this engaging for early readers: rhyming text, repetition, relatable themes of friendship and resourcefulness, and full-color illustrations filled with humorous details.” — Booklist

Nice, huh?

Janee. Thanks for stopping by Picture Book Builders.

Thanks for inviting me.

Congratulations on your two latest books! They happen to be a part of Scholastic’s new Acorn line. Tell us a little bit about Acorn.

Thank you! ACORN is the new younger-sibling of the Scholastic BRANCHES line — aimed at the brand new reader. I couldn’t be happier to have Frog and Dog be a part of it.

What inspired you to write Frog Meets Dog?

In an email discussion in our PBJeebies critique group, one of our members, Kim Norman, said something that triggered an idea. I started jotting down notes and had a rough draft down that night and a sketch dummy ready to be critiqued by the next day.

I bet you’re wondering what she said to inspire such an outburst of creative productivity, right?

Frog. She said the word “frog.” Sometimes, it doesn’t take much to fuel the fire.

The second book in this series is Goat in a Boat. How did this book evolve? Did it begin with a sketch? Some word play? An encounter with a nautical goat?

Word play was definitely the catalyst for books two and three. In fact, it was totally down to the titles. The Acorn editorial team and I went back and forth for a few weeks on possible rhyming titles before we settled on Goat in a Boat and Hog on a Log. I had the basic ideas down, but the titles had to be just right.

Truthfully, there was originally no log in book three. The title drove the plot of that one in a slightly different direction.

In your experience, how was writing books for young readers similar to writing picture books? How was it different?

Because the Frog and Dog series is for the emergent reader, the experience was very similar to my picture book and board book comfort zone.

I had a bit more freedom in that, I had more room to tell the story – 48 pages versus 32, and I could get a little more sophisticated with some of the humor as I knew my audience would be slightly older.

On the other hand, I had more restrictions because these books are meant for newly independent readers. My word choice was really important, an extra syllable is all it takes to bump the book up to a whole other reading level. No contractions, very simple sentences, and the illustrations are very important tools for the reader to decode what is going on in the text.

I loved the challenge, and I think it helped me gain confidence to try writing for an even older audience.

I loved the 5 mini countdown promos you shared online to celebrate the release of these books. They were filled with hoppiness! (See what I did there?) Which was your favorite?

Thank you! I loved the design of the first day — everything fit so nicely on the Twitter-sized announcement. But my favorite content is the Frog and Dog Song. That little song will come in handy for all kinds of promotion and book events. Look out, mandolin. We have a new playlist!

Please pass along your best piece of advice for someone who would like to write a series for young readers.

Keep your reader in mind. Everything about an emergent reader should be designed to help them successfully decode the story.

Scoop time! What can we look forward to next in the A Frog and Dog Book series?

October 2020, save the date! Hog on a Log hits the shelves. Our favorite frogs and dog meet up with a hog who hasn’t really learned the fine of art of sharing yet.

The fine art of sharing sounds like a topic your target audience can really appreciate. Plus, who could possibly resist this cutie hog on a log?! Thanks so much, Janee!


Janee Trasler is the author-illustrator of fifteen books for children, including the popular Chickies series from HarperCollins and the brand new Frog and Dog series from Scholastic/Acorn. She loves to make kids laugh. Even when she’s not writing and illustrating books, Janee can be found telling stories through music and puppets.


For a chance to win a copy of Frog Meets Dog, just comment on this post and/or share the link on Twitter. Please tag Janee at @janeetrasler and Tammi at @SauerTammi.


Congratulations, Mark Ceilley! You are the winner of Hurry Up: A Book About Slowing Down.

Tammi Sauer

Tammi Sauer, a former teacher and library media specialist, is a full-time children's book author who presents at schools and conferences across the country. She has more than 30 published picture books and has many others on the way. Her books have received awards, earned starred reviews, made lists, been made into musicals, and been translated into many different languages. Most importantly, kids really like her books! To learn more about Tammi and her books, please visit and follow her on Twitter at @SauerTammi.


  1. I love this! Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy. Congratulations, Janee!

  2. I can’t wait to meet dog and frog! Adorable!

  3. Thank you for this interview! These books look so wonderful, and I’m looking forward to sharing them with my youngest. Everything said regarding early readers is so true. Simple text and pictures that help decode the words are a must…funny pictures a plus! I’m so excited to read these!

  4. This looks like a wonderful series to help emergent readers, and I know several I’d like to share them with! Congratulations, Janee!!

  5. These books look delightful and perfect for my early reader who is especially encouraged by funny books. I enjoyed learning about your process. The bark joke and songs gave us a great chuckle this morning. Thanks and Congratulations!

  6. Exactly what I needed to read right now. I love early readers, and these are adorable!! Good info on the challenges and joys of this format.

  7. These books look great, my twins will love them!

  8. What an adorable series-thanks for sharing the process, and just shows, it pays to listen! Big congrats…..

  9. What a fun series! I can’t wait to check this out.

  10. Love the fun cover -so inviting! Congrats!

  11. These books look so fun! I love the funny characters and humor behind the stories! Great little Twitter teasers too!

  12. Thanks for this interview! These look like fun easy readers!

  13. Kids will love these new books!

  14. These look like fun! Congrats!

  15. Janee, I loved the countdown and the concept of your early readers. Congratulations!!! They look like so much fun!

  16. So much fun! Congratulations!!

  17. These books look funny! My students would love these books.

  18. These books are beyond adorable! So lively and colorful. Congratulations!

  19. What a fun book. I love that it started with the word frog!

  20. Cindy Schumerth

    Sounds like a lot of fun! Thanks for sharing.

  21. Sounds like a hopping good read for beginners! Congrats!

  22. So much joy in your books! Thanks for sharing. Congratulations!

  23. The story behind the story is a hoppy hoot–love the 5 mini countdowns (my fave is the facts)…congrats on what should be a winning series for young readers!

  24. Danielle Hammelef

    Thank you so much for this fun post. Frogs and dogs are my favorites and put them together in a book–I can’t wait to read your work.

  25. First of all, PBJeebies. ? Second, this looks like a fantastic series. Humor and rhymes definitely help encourage the beginner reader. Thanks for sharing your process and tips, Janee!

  26. These books look like a ton of word fun!

  27. Congratulations! Those are some great countdown cards. My oldest could’ve used these early readers when he was younger. I am glad they are available now.

  28. Your books look so fun – My kids would have loved them!


  29. Just looking at the illustrations, I can tell these will be fun books for emergent readers!

  30. Carole Calladine

    What fun! My grand daughter will love these. Thanks for sharing your journey. Can’t wait to read what you will write next.

  31. Congrats, Janee! This looks adorable.

  32. Good job! Cute characters! Kids will love them!

  33. These look adorable! And you’ve inspired me! Congrats on the books!

  34. Janet Frenck Sheets

    Early readers sound challenging to write, but also fun. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of the process.

  35. Thanks for sharing your story! I look forward to reading these books.

  36. Congratulations, Janee! These look like a barrel of laughs and learning for beginning readers.

  37. Sounds really fun! I love rhyming fun!

  38. Josie Chapdelaine

    Love these books. Thank you for a chance. ????

  39. Heather Gallagher

    Inspiring post!

  40. Hoppy Book Birthday! Looking forward to reading(and studying) all three of these titles. 🙂

  41. Sounds so funny. And the ullustrations are to die for!

  42. What a wonderful time I had reading about those frogs and dogs. Loved the article and I send my big congratulations to you, Janee.

  43. So Cute! You make an early reader fun. Thanks for sharing.

  44. Meredith Fraser

    Such a great series. Love the illustrations.

  45. Thanks, Tammi and congratulations, Janee! This looks so fun!

  46. My son would love this! It looks like such a cute book!
    digicats {at} sbcglobal {dot} net

  47. Very cute & bright illustrations for the youngest readers! Congrats!

  48. These look like fun to write and fun to read. I love the bright colors

  49. These look wonderful! My kindergarten students would love these!

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