Frogs and toads, amphibians who lead a double life on water and on land, are the subject of this veteran science writer’s latest nature exploration.
In the pattern of many of his recent titles, Simon's introduction to these interesting creatures consists of thoughtfully arranged exposition that moves smoothly from topic to topic without any interruptions to the narrative flow. He covers their development, habitat, physical characteristics, senses and behavior (especially seasonal changes and reproduction), concluding with mention of the chytrid fungus and frog population decline. He presents a few specific and unusual species. Unfamiliar words and concepts such as ectothermic, metamorphosis, estivation and hibernation are emphasized in boldface, explained in the text and defined in the backmatter. From a splendid opening display of all stages in a wood frog’s life, from egghood to adulthood, striking photographs from various sources illustrate Simon’s points. Beautifully reproduced and interestingly arranged, these images don’t have captions but will be clear to readers who understand the text. In the process of describing his approach in an introductory author's note, Simon offers readers good suggestions for their own science writings: drawing helpful comparisons, using strong verbs and descriptive detail, asking questions, engaging both the senses and the imagination, and making science fun.
A grand addition to any elementary-age collection of nature titles. (index, websites) (Nonfiction. 6-10)