The cycle of frog life begins with a male bullfrog’s song.
Harrison uses simple, short sentences to describe bullfrog courtship and development: singing, eggs hatching, tadpoles growing, eating and the threat of being eaten, hibernating, and a season of unsuccessful singing before the young frog grows big enough to sing loudly and attract a mate. Appropriately for the preschool audience, the author ignores the variations in bullfrog life that reflect different climate zones. He also simplifies breeding: “A female bullfrog likes his song. Before long she lays eggs.” (There is no backmatter note about fertilization to help caregivers manage questions about what happens between the song and the eggs.) Debut illustrator Cosgrove uses pencils and digital tools to create stylized illustrations that show frogs in a likely environment. She shows the (textually unmentioned) differences between males and females nicely (males have a much larger tympanum, a hearing organ behind their eyes), but occasionally text and illustration don’t quite match. On the spread that reads, “The babies have no legs,” some of the tadpoles do have legs. On the next spread, “They grow fatter and begin to grow legs,” and indeed, the picture shows the process of growth from tiny tadpoles to larger ones developing legs. The text lends itself well to reading aloud, with opportunities for sound effects, and the illustrations show well from a distance.
A useful addition to a nature-themed storytime. (additional facts, further reading, online references) (Informational picture book. 3-6)