Monday, April 10, 2017

Non-Fiction Monday: The Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Wechsler

The Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Wechsler. 48 p. Charlesbridge, March, 2017. 9781580897389. (Review from finished copy courtesy of publisher.)

A conversational text featuring short sentences that neatly incorporates scientific terminology, follows the life cycle of a toad through three years - from embryo floating in spagetti-like gel through maturation and the fertilization and laying of her own eggs. The book is attractively designed with a colorful blue background, easily read font and size and full-color photographs spread over one and a half pages that beautifully illustrate each phase from embryo onward. The photos are all super-up-close and absolutely fascinating. Sometimes, scale can be lost in up-close photos and the author indicates the relative size in the text and in a photo at the end of the book. It boggles the mind that the embryos one is staring at are actually smaller than the space inside the letter o. Then one wonders how the author/ photographer actually got these shots. (See next sentence)

The backmatter is plentiful. It includes an illustrated glossary, an explanation of the differences between a frog and a toad, more toad facts, information about saving toads, a page explaining how the author obtained the photos and three books and three websites, including the author's own, for further reading. Perfect for your budding naturalists, fact-hounds and report writing!

This is a first-purchase for school and classroom libraries for any age. The students I read this to were absolutely fascinated from beginning to end. Then, they asked for the book and pored over it again.

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