9.09.2008

Amphibian Literature

We are still reading books about various amphibians -- focusing right now on frogs and toads. We will then just touch on newts and salamanders a little. I wanted to share my favorite books for this amphibian study. You can also download my complete plan for all vertebrates on the left-hand column of my blog, including information I hope my boys learn about amphibians.

Normally, I really like the "Let's-Read-and-Find-Out-Science" series. I chose not to include the Why Frogs are Wet book because there was just too much evolutionary content. Now, onto what I did choose. You certainly do not have to use as many books as I chose, but I really like the power of reinforcement and review. I also like to choose a variety of styles (readers, narratives, pictorial, etc). If you want to limit your books to a handful, I have given my recommendation for the must-reads at the end of this post.

Growing Frogs (Vivian French)
My library actually had this picture book on DVD, so I opted to have my boys watch this. This frog-growing adventure begins when a little girl and her mother read a book about frogs. With her mother's encouragement, she brings home frog spawn from a pond to watch real frogs grow.

The Frog Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta)
Introduces the letters of the alphabet by describing a frog or other amphibian for each letter, from The Amazon horned frog to the Zig zag salamander.

Frogs (Laura Driscoll) -- An All Aboard Reading, Level 1 Book
This is a very easy book -- a great one to have your child read aloud to you. I personally chose it because I like the construction paper art work. I try to choose books with all sorts of different art work, and my son also loves creating his own paper-pieced animals.

The Frog (Angela Royston) -- An Animal Life Stories Book
This is another series I really like. Traces the growth of a tadpole into an adult frog and discusses the frog's environment and natural enemies.

Frogs (Gail Gibbons)
Whenever there;s a Gail Gibbons book available, I use it. I just love them as an overview to a topic.

Another similar book that I use as well is Jim Arnosky's All About Frogs. I love Arnosky's books too! If you are limited on time, or only wish to choose one, I cannot tell you which to choose. :) They are rather different in their approach and descriptions.

Another comprehensive book is The Complete Frog : A Guide for the Very Young Naturalist (Elizabeth A. Lacey). As is the case with many of the great books, this one is out of print. I was able to find it at my local library. Several used copies are also available on http://www.amazon.com/. While this is not narrative (like Alice Crew Gall's book mentioned below), but informative, the author really speaks to the reader and succeeds in making the information very clear.

Frogs Sing Songs (Yvonne Winer)
Uses a rhyme to describe how, when, where and why frogs sing songs. Very repetitive, best for younger children.

Frog -- Watch Me Grow (Lisa Magloff)
Describes in picture and words the frog's life cycle.

What I Like About Toads (Judy Hawkes) -- A Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science Book
While most books pertain to frogs, this is a nice book which focuses on toads.

Fantastic Frogs (Fay Robinson) -- A Hello Reader Level 2 Book
This is another book your child could read aloud to you.

Other books that teach the life cycle include and can also be used as readers are:

Tale of a Tadpole (Karen Wallace) -- An Eyewitness Level 1 Reader

From Tadpole to Frog (David Stewart) -- A Let's-Read-and-Find-Out Science, Level 1 Book

The following books focus on specific frogs or toads:

Poison Dart Frogs (Jennifer Dewey)
Spring Peepers (Judy Hawes)
A Wood Frog's Life (John Himmelman)
Toad Overload: A True Tale of Nature Knocked Off Balance in Australia (Patricia Seibert)

If you want to add a little humor to your lunch hour, read I Toad You So -- Riddles about Frogs and Toads (Rick and Ann Walton)

Finally, I am so excited! My newest Alice Crew Gall book arrived today -- just in time. It is Wagtail -- about frogs! If you remember, we have been reading Little Black Ant by the same author. It has been wonderful!

For those newts and salamanders, I recommend one or both of these:

Red-Spotted Newt (Doris Gove)
This is a longer, very detailed narrative accompanied by detailed water color pictures.

Salamanders (Emery Bernhard)
This is a simpler book with full-color artwork on each page.

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My must reads for frogs (I'd still include at least one of the newts/salamanders books) are:

Wagtail (Alice Crew Gall)
This narrative approach is perfect!

Either Gail Gibbons' or Jim Arnosky's book

The Frog Alphabet Book
Just great to see the variations in the amphibian phylum.

The Complete Frog (Elizabeth A. Lacey)
Very comprehensive and accessible.

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