Himmelman follows up his salute to noisy bugs with a look at frogs—how and why they sing and what their songs sound like.
Patterned similarly to his Noisy Bug Sing-Along (2013), each double-page spread focuses on a single sound—which reaches across the pages in a huge font—made by a frog or toad, some identified, some not. “A Peeper peeps in the cold spring rain. Peep-peep-peep.” To help readers imagine their tunes, many of the sounds are compared to other things—a plucked banjo, an angry sheep—while others use onomatopoeia—cuk, meep, ribbit—and still others are described as verbs—cry, trill, growl. Still, readers would do well to consult the sound files on the publisher’s website (not heard) or hope that a companion app will be along shortly. Inexplicably, a salamander is featured in the middle of the book, silent without a throat pouch to sing. While Himmelman’s frogs are realistic (and up-close and huge in the seemingly digital illustrations), his backgrounds are less so, sometimes reflecting actual habitats, other times simply a (bright) color wash. Backmatter includes a page of activities that will allow readers to further explore frogs and a paragraph about each of the featured fauna. It’s just too bad this wasn’t folded into the text.
Without benefit of recordings, onomatopoeia alone can’t convey what the book hopes to. (Informational picture book. 3-8)