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HOP FROG by Rick Chrustowski

HOP FROG

By Rick Chrustowski (Author) , Rick Chrustowski (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 7

Pub Date: April 1st, 2003
ISBN: 0-8050-6688-8
Publisher: Henry Holt

A picture book presents one year in the life of a hypothetical leopard frog, from conception in the spring through hibernation. Along the way, readers learn some pretty cool frog facts: “A male frog fills pouches of loose skin on either side of his mouth with air. Then he forces the air back and forth over his vocal chords. It sounds like a hand rubbing a wet balloon. But to a female frog it is a beautiful song.” But within these frog facts lie some concerns. First, terms unfamiliar to the book’s natural audience, such as “vocal chords”—or dragonfly “nymph” or “scavenger”—are presented without elaboration (and in the case of vocal cords, homonymically confused). Second, thoughts and emotions are occasionally imputed without any real basis: how can the author, or anyone else, really know what the lady frogs think about the gentleman frogs’ “song”? These concerns aside, Chrustowski (Army Ant Parade, 2002, etc.) by and large does a good job of presenting the basic facts of frog life. The frog duly grows from tadpolehood to maturity, a couple of encounters with predators adding dramatic tension and hinting at the fates of other, not-so-lucky frogs. Colored pencil drawings over watercolor wash are sharp, clear, and accurate, but they do not have the artistry of, say, a Jim Arnosky illustration. A full page of further “Frog Facts” follows the narrative, somewhat duplicating what has gone before and neglecting to mention such a salient fact as the range of the leopard frog. With a wealth of frog books available to the budding scientist, this is just an additional purchase. (Picture book/nonfiction. 4-7)