At the end of a walk in the rain on a gloomy March evening, Ally and her grandmother find the surprise Mama promised: a street full of migrating toads that need their help.
Based on an actual annual occurrence in Philadelphia and other places around the world where toads have been cut off from their preferred egg-laying ponds by human roads, this appealing story celebrates a human–natural world connection. The first-person narration describes the spectacle of toad migration from a child’s point of view but includes adult dialogue that weaves in information neatly. Markle builds suspense nicely through Grandma's reluctance to leave her warm, dry apartment and her lack of enthusiasm for the interesting sights offered by the rainy evening in the city: colorful umbrellas, water spouting from a manhole, an earthworm crawling across the sidewalk. Mama is enthusiastic about everything, and Grandma comes around when they reach the TOAD DETOUR sign. “Cool!” Ally exclaims. Grandma says, “You can say that again.” And all three join other volunteers carrying toads across the street to the ponds they seek. Gonzalez’s airbrushed pastel-and–colored-pencil illustrations show close-ups of the family and shimmery, wet nighttime scenes. Ally’s polka-dot galoshes are a nice touch, helping readers find her in the dark.
A fine addition to the sense-of-wonder shelf. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)