Accelerated Reader Program Selection
“From the moment the first boat floated down the Erie Canal, people living along its banks have told strange stories. It was as if mixing the waters of the Hudson and the Erie made mysterious things happen.”
—Joshua the Giant Frog
An astonishing feat of engineering and human labor, the Erie Canal had enormous impact on New York and the rest of America after it opened to great fanfare in 1825. In Joshua the Giant Frog, the town of Empeyville sits alongside this modern wonder, which, due to a recent drought, is “nothing more than a wet rag lying across the state.” A line of barges stranded between the cities of Syracuse and Rome has been stuck all summer, and no amount of mules or oxen can move them. However, thanks to the ingenuity of young Red McCarthy, the boats are hauled all the way to Albany, pulled by his amiable amphibian friend, Joshua.
This turn-of-the-century tall tale shows that even a giant frog can be friendly and helpful, when given a purpose and embraced in a spirit of collaboration and community. The townspeople of Empeyville have plenty of work for Joshua, and he is happy to oblige, since every day ends with swimming and playing in the local pond. Amusing illustrations depict small-town life in nineteenth-century upstate New York, and history hops ahead in this Americana tribute to hard work, teamwork, and resourcefulness.