BIG NIGHT FOR SALAMANDERS by Sarah Marwil Lamstein


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Age Range: 6 - 9
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On the night of the first warm spring rain, Evan can hardly wait until after dark, when he and his parents will go out to slow cars on the road and help spotted salamanders cross from their winter burrows to the vernal pool where they will lay their eggs. This slight story is a vehicle to introduce a natural history phenomenon, the “Big Night” of salamander migration. Benioff’s gouache paintings, many on double-page spreads, show the salamanders in their habitat, a mixed-race boy whose enthusiasm shows in his body language and, once, a dog slyly stealing a cookie from the boy’s plate. Parents (only parts of their bodies appear) are involved in this “crossing” activity and remind Evan of road safety from time to time. Unfortunately the story skips a beat when a car is left stopped along the road in the narrative. An afterword describes the spotted salamander’s life cycle and gives more information about Big Nights and vernal pools, but does not mention the animal’s range—across most of the eastern United States. (glossary, index to back matter) (Picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-932425-98-7
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Boyds Mills
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15th, 2010


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