July 16, 2019

And the Bullfrogs Sing by David L. Harrison, illustrated by Kate Cosgrove

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 2:18 am by suebe2

And the Bullfrogs Sing:
A Life Cycle Begins
by David L. Harrison
illustrated by Kate Cosgrove
Holiday House

“It is spring. Time to find a mate.
A male bullfrog sings loud and
deep, rumm rumm rumm.”

So begins And the Bullfrogs Sing. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Harrison’s work, he is a master at creating a seemingly simple text that packs in a wealth of information.  This text includes bullfrog calls, egg laying, the differences in male and female frogs, how long it takes a frog to mature sexually, life span and more.

My husband is a frog enthusiast so I was expecting an enjoyable book but wasn’t expecting to learn a lot.  I hadn’t known that frog eggs can taste bad to some fish — a brilliant adaption.  The fact that bull frogs hibernate twice before mating, ie they are about two years old?  I didn’t know that either.  I should have remembered just how much info Harrison packs into one of his books.

At first glance, I thought that Cosgrove’s illustrations looked like collage.  But her art work combines pencil with digital work to create a natural world largely composed of blues and greens.  The images aren’t realistic but they are welcoming.

This book would make a perfect jumping off point for discussions on growth, the life cycle, frogs, and the aquatic ecosystem in which bull frogs life.  The text is short enough not to overwhelm preschoolers and the call of the bullfrog, rumm rumm rumm, will create a chorus for young readers to sing.  Invite young readers to draw the stages of a frog’s life cycle or to create collages inspired by the book.

Compliment this picture book with other books featuring frogs.  Possibilities include The Frog Book by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page or, for readers who prefer fiction, I Don’t Want to Be a Frog by Dev Petty.


May 10, 2012

Wolfsnail by Sarah C. Campbell

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , at 1:46 am by suebe2

Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator
by Sarah C. Campbell
photographs by Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell
Boyds Mills Press
AR 4.4

The text is deceptively simple but a young reader interested in the natural world will be hooked by the opportunity to learn about something so dramatic that can occur in their very own backyard.

Water from a spring rain
runs along the edge
of a porch.
It drips onto the  shell of a wolfsnail.
The snail is tucked inside its shell.

The rain awakens the wolfsnail and it is soon roaming the hostas looking for a handy meal.  Unlike other land snails, wolfsnails don’t eat plants.  They are the only land snail that is a predator — eating other snails and also slugs.  In fact, if the prey it finds is small enough, it devours it shell and all!

Campbell and her husband took the photos for this book and they did an amazing job.  As so often happens with really good photos, I caught myself “reading” the photos and had to go back and read the text.  Their photos are just that good.

You may think that all snails look alike, but if you have wolfsnails  in your area, your child will be able to recognize them after reading this book.  This is a great  study of the natural world and the difference between prey and predator.

Share it with a young nature lover today!



May 7, 2012

Vulture View by April Pulley Sayre, illustrated by Steve Jenkins

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:56 am by suebe2

Vulture View
by April Pulley Sayre,
illustrated by Steve Jenkins
Henry Holt
AR 1.1

I have to admit it — I’m disgustingly fascinated by turkey vultures.  I love to watch them circle in the sky, rocking back and forth gently in the air currents.  As much as I love to watch them in the air, that’s where my interest stops.  I know what they eat and that’s enough for me.

Still, April Pulley Sayre is one of my favorite nonfiction picture book authors and Steve Jenkins is an amazing illustrator so I picked this up to see what they could do with this topic.

The book covers a vulture day from sun up one day to  sun up the next.  It describes how they soar on the air currents (hurrah!) and drink in the various smells on the search for food (apprehension rising).  Not to worry, the book is accurate while being sensitive of the fact that not all readers will be ready for an up-close-and-personal look at vultures dining.

Jenkin’s collage illustrations depict everything from vultures flying to their actual food but do so in a way that isn’t overly detailed or gory.  The book couldn’t be honest and deliver this in any way that would be more gentle.

Hurrah to Jenkins and Sayre for accurately depicting the web of life and showing young readers a bit about an animal that few people know much about.

My favorite illustrations are the silhouettes of roosting vultures against a red evening sky although Jenkins ability to depict fluffy white clouds amazes me.

This is probably more of a boy book than a girl book but it is definitely a worthy ready for any youngster who loves nature.  With a 1.1 AR level it would also be suitable for newly independent readers who still love highly illustrated texts.


May 3, 2012

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , at 1:47 am by suebe2

Step Gently Out
by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder
Candlewick Press

Candlewick has put out another amazing nature book withStep Gently Out.

The spare text is a rhyming poem by Helen Frost.  This poem hints at the wonders of nature, specifically the insect world, that you could see if you could simply move quietly enough and look closely enough at the word around you.

Rick Lieder’s amazing photos bring this world alive.  From bees to praying mantis and ants to fireflies, Lieder’s photos capture the grace and beauty of these tiny animals.

For readers who want a bit more information than is delivered in the dreamy text, an author’s note gives details on the animals depicted earlier in the book.

This book would be a great introduction on insect but would also make a nice quiet time book for sitting quietly together in the evening or at bed time.

As much as I enjoyed the text, I found myself having to go back and reread it because I was so mesmerized by the detailed images in the photos, ranging from a dew covered web to a firefly lighting up at night.

Definitely worth sharing with the young nature lover in your life.


%d bloggers like this: