Amphibians and reptiles are so similar that there is a single word for those who study them: herpetologists. For her young audience, the author introduces these coldblooded vertebrates and points out some essential differences in egg-laying, early development, breathing, skin, and poison or venom. Her text reads like a set of class notes: “Most amphibians have moist, smooth skin. / Reptiles have dry scales.” What makes this book successful, like others in the author's Compare and Contrast series, are the large, close-up stock pictures that accompany each statement and help visual learners retain these important facts. The double-page spread showing a toothy crocodile head and its massive scales is hard to forget. Hall’s text, though brief, is not simple. She uses necessary basic but possibly unfamiliar terms such as “cold-blooded,” “metamorphosis,” and “oxygen.” She distinguishes three classes of amphibians (frogs and toads; salamanders and newts; and caecilians) and four classes of reptiles (crocodylians; tuatara; lizards, worm lizards, and snakes; and turtles and tortoises). Young readers and pre-readers who enjoy learning facts will welcome this approach and the accompanying quiz (answers supplied) and extra information about vertebrate classes, herpetology study, and scrambled-word review of a frog’s life cycle.
A solid, basic overview. (Informational picture book. 4-8)