Douglas Florian, LIZARDS, FROGS, AND POLLIWOGS. , $16 (56pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202591-5

Like Florian's Insectlopedia and Mammalabilia, this volume contains witty poems filled with comic word play—this time about 21 scaly, slimy creatures. With the droll verbal dexterity of J. Patrick Lewis and the just slightly naughty humor of Jack Prelutsky, Florian regales his readers with unexpected rhymes. "It's wise to stay clear/ Of the dangerous cobra," he warns, "all the months of the year,/ Including Octobra." A picture of a costumed child holding a jack-o'-lantern is accompanied by the verse "I wouldn't wanna/ Be an iguana—/ Except for Halloween." From the Midwife Toad ("On Dad's back the eggs are toted./ To his kids he's toadally devoted") to the Poison-Dart Frogs, Florian finds mischievous reptile lore that will make young readers laugh. At first glance his illustrations seem less varied than in the previous books, but these bug-eyed amphibians have a low-key style of their own. The newt reads the "Newt News" paper, and the Glass Frog camouflaged on a leaf labels various parts of the painting either "me" or "leaf." The medium is different, too: here Florian uses watercolors and collage elements atop brown paper bags. The warm, familiar tones and soft lines belie the idiosyncrasy of the compositions—these frogs and friends don't necessarily jump out at readers, but continually take them by surprise. Ages 5-10. (Apr.)