THE FROG

Seldom has a common frog looked so regal, outside of a fairy tale, as in this gloriously illustrated life cycle. Describing the common European frog in rich detail, the author records how the frog stalks his first meal, a pink juicy worm, after the winter hibernation: “He bides his time, toes twitching. Then he pounces, seizing the wriggling prey in his wide mouth. He scrapes off the dirt with delicate fingers before gulping it down whole.” The frog finds other creatures to munch on the way to the pond, and narrowly misses becoming a meal for a hedgehog. At the pond, he mates, and then the text and illustrations describe the process by which the tiny jelly-like eggs hatch into tadpoles and develop into froglets and finally frogs. Kitchen's cutaway pond paintings are especially compelling as they show the frogs above and below the surface of the pond. Readers in the US, more familiar with the common green leopard frog, will find many similar elements in the life cycle of this golden bronze neighbor, Rana temporaria. Part of the Animal Lives series by Kingfisher, including The Rabbit (not reviewed). The Rabbit which focuses on a European rabbit, rather than the familiar cottontail of the US. These are handsome, informative, inexpensive titles with outstanding illustrations. (frog facts, Web sites and organizations for more information, glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 1, 2000

ISBN: 0-7534-5215-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kingfisher

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2000

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RED-EYED TREE FROG

Bishop’s spectacular photographs of the tiny red-eyed tree frog defeat an incidental text from Cowley (Singing Down the Rain, 1997, etc.). The frog, only two inches long, is enormous in this title; it appears along with other nocturnal residents of the rain forests of Central America, including the iguana, ant, katydid, caterpillar, and moth. In a final section, Cowley explains how small the frog is and aspects of its life cycle. The main text, however, is an afterthought to dramatic events in the photos, e.g., “But the red-eyed tree frog has been asleep all day. It wakes up hungry. What will it eat? Here is an iguana. Frogs do not eat iguanas.” Accompanying an astonishing photograph of the tree frog leaping away from a boa snake are three lines (“The snake flicks its tongue. It tastes frog in the air. Look out, frog!”) that neither advance nor complement the action. The layout employs pale and deep green pages and typeface, and large jewel-like photographs in which green and red dominate. The combination of such visually sophisticated pages and simplistic captions make this a top-heavy, unsatisfying title. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-590-87175-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1999

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MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS

This is rather a silly story, and I don't believe children will think it particularly funny. A paper hanger and painter finds time on his hands in winter, and spends it in reading of arctic exploration. It is all given reality when he receives a present of a penguin, which makes its nest in the refrigerator on cubes of ice, mates with a lonely penguin from the zoo, and produces a family of penguins which help set the Poppers on their feet.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1938

ISBN: 978-0-316-05843-8

Page Count: 139

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1938

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