cover image Frog Song

Frog Song

Brenda Z. Guiberson, illus. by Gennady Spirin. Holt, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9254-7

The team behind Life in the Boreal Forest focuses on a single animal: frogs. The magnificently gifted Spirin paints larger-than-life portraits of 11 frog species from every corner of the world, showing the texture of their skin and the gleam of their eyes in intricately worked, tapestry-like spreads. Many of the frogs have unique, even startling childbearing behaviors. In some species, males tend the developing frog eggs. The Darwin’s frog, from Chile, wins the prize for the strangest place to keep them: “They slither into his vocal sacs, where he keeps them safe and moist for 7 weeks. Then he gives a big yawn, and little froglets pop out.” The consciousness of the fragility of frogs and their dependence on clean air and water to survive is emphasized throughout. Guiberson speaks of frog voices as a beacon, a signal of the Earth’s continued health: “A frog song is a celebration of clean water, plants, and insects to eat. Chiroop. Pribble!” Back matter supplies additional information about frog species, resources, and threats. Spirin’s paintings make this a book to treasure. Ages 4–8. (Feb.)