Author: Arnold Lobel
Plot Summary: Toad finds a plate of cookies and shares them with Frog. As they enjoy the cookies, they realize they should stop eating them. They find it is very hard to stop eating the delicious cookies. Frog suggests they need willpower and puts the cookies in a box. Toad observes that they can still open the box. Frog ties string around the box, but Toad observes that they can cut the string and open the box. Frog climbs a ladder, placing the box of cookies high up on a shelf, but Toad notes that they can climb the ladder, take the box down, cut the string, and open the box. Finally, Frog takes the cookies outside and offers them to a group of birds. Toad is horrified that the cookies are all gone, but Frog says they have no cookies but “lots and lots of willpower.” Toad replies, “You may keep all of it. I am going home now to make a cake.”
Posted In: Ethics

Discussion Questions
  • What is willpower?
  • Is it important to have willpower?
  • Is willpower ever a bad thing? Are there situations where having willpower would be problematic?
  • Frog says willpower is about “trying hard not to do something that you really want to do.” Do you ever need willpower to stop doing something you do not want to do?
  • Is there anything you find hard to resist? Why is it hard to resist? What do you do to help yourself resist it?
  • At the end of the story, Frog gives away the cookies to some birds. Does it count as willpower if you give away something you want and do not have the temptation anymore?

This lesson plan can be used in a classroom or online.

This Claymation production of “Cookies” from Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Together book is an excellent option if you are looking for an alternative to reading the story aloud.