The creators of Life in the Boreal Forest present a sumptuously illustrated tribute to the crucial role frogs play in ecosystems around the world, using fact-filled, onomatopoeic text to describe how numerous varieties of frogs have helped the environment since prehistoric times. - (Baker & Taylor)
- (McMillan Palgrave)
Since the time of the dinosaurs, frogs have added their birrups and bellows to the music of the earth. Frogs are astonishing in their variety and crucial to ecosystems. Onomatopoeic text and stunning illustrations introduce young readers to these fascinating and important creatures, from Chile to Nepal to Australia, in Frog Song by Brenda Z. Guiberson.
An NPR Best Book of 2013
Guiberson, who teamed up with Spirin for the picture book Life in the Boreal Forest (2009), has written many science picture books. Here she introduces 11 frogs from around the world. Each appears on a double-page spread that includes a large, beautiful illustration and a paragraph of information mentioning the frog's song and something unique about its species. For instance, the Great Plains narrow-mouthed toad shares a tarantula's burrow and keeps it free of insects, while the Darwin's frog's tadpoles develop in their father's vocal sac for seven weeks before they emerge from his mouth as froglets. An appended page, "Frogs in Trouble," comments on environmental problems threatening the survival of frogs and affecting humans as well. While the main frog in each illustration is usually clearly delineated, other elements of the picture sometimes look hazy or misty, leaving viewers to wonder whether they represent things mentioned in the text or decorative parts of the scenes. Still, the fascinating facts and impressive tempera, watercolor, and pencil illustrations make this a distinctive introduction to frogs. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews
Profiles of eleven frogs and toads from worldwide locales touch on microhabitat, physical features, and nurturing behavior, while onomatopoeic text describes their songs. What could have been a sterile catalog is instead a graceful, accurate ode, matched and extended by Spirin's painstakingly detailed illustrations of amphibians in lush settings. Additional facts and a plea for clean frog environments conclude the volume. Websites. Bib.
Publishers Weekly Reviews
The team behind Life in the Boreal Forest focuses on a single animal: frogs. The magnificently gifted Spirin paints larger-than-life portraits of 11 frog species from every corner of the world, showing the texture of their skin and the gleam of their eyes in intricately worked, tapestry-like spreads. Many of the frogs have unique, even startling childbearing behaviors. In some species, males tend the developing frog eggs. The Darwin's frog, from Chile, wins the prize for the strangest place to keep them: "They slither into his vocal sacs, where he keeps them safe and moist for 7 weeks. Then he gives a big yawn, and little froglets pop out." The consciousness of the fragility of frogs and their dependence on clean air and water to survive is emphasized throughout. Guiberson speaks of frog voices as a beacon, a signal of the Earth's continued health: "A frog song is a celebration of clean water, plants, and insects to eat. Chiroop. Pribble!" Back matter supplies additional information about frog species, resources, and threats. Spirin's paintings make this a book to treasure. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)
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School Library Journal Reviews
K-Gr 4—Guiberson has carefully chosen and researched 11 varieties of frogs whose habitats are scattered across six continents. In the spare text, she provides a transliteration of each species' song and describes how its young are incubated and hatched. For example, the male Darwin's frog scoops his tadpoles into his mouth and-after seven weeks of incubation-spits out his little froglets. On a spread at the end, the author notes where each frog can be found, its size, and an interesting fact or two. Each of Spirin's exquisitely detailed, larger-than-life illustrations, created with tempera, watercolor, and pencil, provides a two-page close-up of a species in its native habitat, with a large, pale-hued area set aside to house the large-print text. There is just enough information to interest older children who can read the book themselves, but the realistic pictures and fascinating facts can be shared one-on-one with younger children as well. A thought-provoking author's note mentions species-endangering changes in the environment caused by pollution, global warming, and paving of natural pathways. "A frog song is a celebration of clean water, plants, and insects to eat," Guiberson cautions. A bibliography and list of outstanding informational websites are appended to this beautifully presented nature lesson.—Susan Scheps, formerly at Shaker Heights Public Library, OH
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