Skinny Little Frog by Myrl Thompson

Skinny Little Frog refuses to eat flies because he is sure he won’t like them. And he has an even bigger problem than that to solve. Will he hide under his lily pad, or will he find courage in his little heart to try?

The Skinny Little Frog

Picky Eaters and the Writing of “Skinny Little Frog”

The Banks of Ryan Creek, where Skinny Little Frog lived and where ideas for all of Myrl’s writings began.  


The Banks of Ryan Creek, where Skinny Little Frog lived and where ideas for all of Myrl’s writings began.

Like all parents, my wife Mary Anne, and I worried about our children. We worried that they weren’t eating well.   Juli especially was skinny and often sick.  She missed most of her 2nd grade year due to recurrent bouts of strep throat, resulting in eventual removal of her tonsils. Mary Anne and I tried everything.  We were determined that we were not going to continue the mistakes made in our own upbringing.   You know the ones:  the old “You can’t leave the table until you’ve finished everything on your plate” routine and the old “There are starving kids in China” guilt trip. 

So instead we turned to the “try it, you might like it”  plea.  It worked with mixed success. As we discussed the problem, Mary Anne shared with me that she had noticed that the only time they seemed truly healthy was during the summers we spent at The Farm.  So I decided to write a story that came from The Farm, right there on Ryan Creek.   

Something that would not only encourage them to eat new foods, but by extension, to try new things. The kids were well acquainted with the bullfrogs at the farm; the way they sang and galumphed when the sun went down, and the way they hid in the shadowy, shallow parts when you tried to catch them in the light of day.   Frog’s first edition was in the form of drawings done with felt tipped markers from my office at the Oldsmobile Product Engineering team in East Lansing,  and colored pencils., procured from the local Woolworth’s. 

I did two identical books by hand, one for Juli and one for Joe, which I bound in two “magnetic self-stick” photo albums, also procured at Woolworth’s. 

Mary Anne and I encouraged them to try new things at least once to see if they liked them.  And soon, we had them trying just about anything;  corned beef hash with eggs on top, creamed beef on toast (otherwise known as “you-know-what on a shingle”),  and pizza with anchovies.  They even nibbled on my Aunt Emma’s snapping turtle and fried frog legs, caught and cleaned on the banks of Ryan Creek during our summer visits.

Frog was a big hit.  He occupied coveted space on their personal book shelves all through their growing up years. They both brought Frog to school for “Show and Tell” on more than one occasion. 

Years later, Juli tried her hand at health coaching for a while and came across these helpful tips that you might enjoy reading too.


Toddlers like to binge on one food at a time

They may eat only fruits one day and vegetables the next. Since erratic eating habits are as normal as toddler mood swings, expect your picky eater to eat well one day and eat practically nothing the next. Toddlers from one to three years need between 1,000 and 1,300 calories a day, yet they may not eat this amount every day. Aim for a nutritionally-balanced week, not a balanced day.

All this is not to say that parents shouldn’t encourage their toddlers to eat well and develop healthy food habits. Based on our hands-on experience with eight children, we’ve developed 17 tactics to tempt little taste buds and minimize mealtime hassles with your picky eater.

  1. Offer a nibble tray

Toddlers like to graze their way through a variety of foods, so why not offer them a customized smorgasbord? The first tip from the Sears’ kitchen is to offer toddlers a nibble tray. Use an ice-cube tray, a muffin tin, or a compartmentalized dish, and put bite-size portions of colorful and nutritious foods in each section. Call these finger foods playful names that a two-year-old can appreciate, such as:

  • apple moons (thinly sliced)
  • avocado boats (a quarter of an avocado)
  • banana wheels
  • broccoli trees (steamed broccoli florets)
  • carrot swords (cooked and thinly sliced)
  • cheese building blocks
  • egg canoes (hard-boiled egg wedges)
  • little O’s (o-shaped cereal)

What sorts of challenges have YOU had with your kids as you’ve tried to get them to eat?   

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