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Saturday, May 4, 2019

The Frog Book, written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Raincoast. 2019. $24.95 ages 8 and up

"Most frogs spend at least
part of their lives in the
water. But a few never
leave. They are aquatic
frogs, and they've adapted
to a full-time - or nearly
full-time - life underwater.

The Titicaca water frog
lives in a deep, cold lake
in South America."

He's back! Steve Jenkins and his wife Robin Page have created another terrific book for young learners. They are experts in the nonfiction genre, generating topics that children find very inviting and helping them learn more than they could ever have imagined.

In The Frog Book they have assembled a fascinating collection of facts about frogs, their habitats, their anatomy, their life cycle, and so much more.

"To survive in so many habitats, frogs have evolved
different ways of finding food, escaping danger,
and attracting a mate. There are thousands of different
kinds of frogs and they are found in an amazing variety
of colors, shapes, and sizes."

Who knew? I was fascinated by that variety, and learned a lot as I always do when reading such exemplary information books. (6,000 species have already been identified and more are being discovered regularly.) As they have done in other books, the authors assure that perspective is given to size. On the first double page spread they include ten named frogs from around the world, ranging in size from the large ornate horned frog to the very tiny meowing night frog. In a captioned corner, both are compared to an adult's hand. Amazing stuff!

There's a start for you ... if you want to know more about either species. The authors go on to create additional spreads filled with clearly captioned illustrations that describe the frog itself, the difference between frogs and toads, the ways in which they find mates, egg laying, growth, differing habitats, food, defenses, record holders in the frog world, and present-day concerns concerning extinction.It is a very thorough exploration.

A chart in back matter plots each frog represented in the text. The chart includes name, body length, diet, range, and the page number where it can be found for further study. A list of additional books and websites is definitely appealing for kids who want to know more.

Cut paper collage illustrations will be familiar to fans, and are sure to attract new ones. The variety in perspective hold attention, and provide some up-close-and-personal views. Beautifully designed and easy to follow, this is the kind of nonfiction we want to share with our kids.

"One-third of all frog species are in danger of
extinction. They are threatened by a warming
climate, pollution, the destruction of their
habitat, and a deadly fungus that has spread
through many frog populations. Frogs and other
amphibians absorb air and water through their
skin, so they are easily harmed by pollutants in
the air or water. Sick or dying frogs are often the
first warning of environmental problems."

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