Frogs Everywhere

Lynn:  Frogs are high interest to kids and frequently populate picture books, leaping about in a wild variety of adventures.  So it is nice to review two excellent frog books  – this time nonfiction.

frogThe first is Frog Song (Henry Holt 2013) by Brenda Z. Guiberson.  In this stunning book, eleven species of frogs are introduced with a focus on the sounds they make.  Each two-page spread features a paragraph of information that is a delight to read aloud and a beautiful watercolor and pencil illustration by Gennady Spirin that fills the over-sized pages.  This is the same team that gave us Life in the Boreal Forest (Henry Holt 2009) and this is another treat for the eyes and ears.  The back matter is equally well done with smaller pictures of each frog and more information about each one, a page on Frogs in Trouble and an extensive bibliography, both print and online.  Frog fans of all ages will love this.

Best Foot ForwardCindy: Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers, and Claws (Holiday House 2013) by Ingo Arndt isn’t really a frog book, but it includes the feet of two frogs (the red-eyed tree frog and the African clawed frog). It also includes the feet of ostriches, beetles, squirrels, chimpanzees, caterpillars and lobsters. The book is organized by foot activity: Feet that walk, climb, jump, swim, etc. Each section opens with a two page spread of a stunning foot close-up asking “Whose foot is this?” The page turn features the reveal with the whole animal and smaller photos of additional animal feet that fit the same category, accompanied by simple text. The photos of extreme feet close-ups will fascinate young readers and the descriptions of how various animals motor about with their unique “foot” features will be equally interesting.

Common Core Connection

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

Have students select an animal in the index and then find the page, and then use the captions to find that animal in one of the photos on that page.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.2.6 With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.

Modeling the format of Arndt’s book, have students work in pairs to find a photograph of an animal’s foot online and then insert it in a document and write about the animal how his foot helps the animal move.  Label the category in which it fits (feet that walk, climb, jump, etc.) and assemble the students’ work into a classroom book of animal feet.

nonfiction_mondayThis week’s Nonfiction Monday blog round-up is being hosted by Sally’s Bookshelf. Head on over for more nonfiction posts. Great minds think alike, Sally’s Bookshelf reviewed Best Foot Forward today, too!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees.

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