cover image FROG HUNT


Sandra Jordan, . . Roaring Brook/Porter, $15.95 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-7613-1592-6

Toting nets and buckets, a group of children spend a hot day wading through a pond, searching for an elusive amphibian, and discover that nature offers numerous other rewards. Jordan's (co-author of Chuck Close: Up Close) subtle hand-tinting of her splendidly detailed photographs heighten the beauty and intrigue of the setting without distancing it from reality. Slightly bleached tones convey the languid heat and reflective light of the summer sun. The opening and closing spreads show the expanse of the watery habitat, but most of the photographs are close-ups of a gossamer insect teetering on a reed, a plump muskrat sliding through glassy, rippling water, and finally the frog evading its pursuers (who later catch and then release it) in a radiant landscape of green and yellow hues. Jordan's short, simple sentences make a strong impact, even as the voice wavers between the cadence of a child ("All day long we look and look. We hear frogs' croaking voices. Where can they be?") and a more sophisticated lyrical style ("A school of minnows silvers the waters"—an apt articulation of what is perhaps the most remarkable photograph, a full spread of the tiny fish). This powerfully evocative book strikes just the right balance between adventure story and a reverie of a much savored nature retreat. Ages 3-7. (Apr.)