From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2-Under the sand, a spadefoot toad waits for the sound of rain. She remains in her burrow as creatures, including peccaries, a rattlesnake, and a kangaroo rat, pass above her but finally emerges to lay her eggs when the distinctive patter of rain begins. Clear, often lovely watercolors illustrate the creature's wait, the desert animals, and the brief time the toad and tadpoles spend on the desert floor after the rain. The nature lesson is propelled by frequent sound effects and the palpable need for rain. Notes at the end give additional information on the habits of this toad and her animal neighbors. Pair this title with Lynn Stone's Desert Animals at Night (Rourke, 1997) or Bash's Desert Giant (Little, Brown, 1990) for a look at desert life. Or, compare the spadefoot toad with her flashier amphibian relatives of the rain forest in Joy Cowley's The Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Scholastic, 1999). The only book for children specifically about the spadefoot toad, Sayre's title is a useful and pleasing addition.Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Ages 4-7. Several inches below the surface of the desert sand, a spadefoot toad waits and listens for rain. She hears the sounds of animals overhead: a scorpion, a kangaroo rat, a herd of peccaries, a woodpecker, and a rattlesnake. Finally, rains falls. She digs her way to the surface, where she mates. From the eggs she laid in a puddle of rainwater, tadpoles hatch and grow into toads. These tiny toads dig under the sand and wait, perhaps for months, for rain. Sayre, the author of If You Should Hear the Honey Guide
(1995) and Turtle, Turtle, Watch Out!
(2000), once again writes about the natural world in a way that is clear, precise, and poetic. The text, which is akin to that of any good fiction picture book in its brevity, attention to sensory details, and read-aloud potential, also conveys the life cycle of a single species in a cogent and memorable way. The book ends with two appended pages that include a discussion of the spadefoot toad and a little information about each of the other animals that appeared in the book. Created with pencil, pen and ink, and watercolor, Bash's pictures illustrate the desert scenes with pleasingly varied colors, perspectives, and layouts. Preschool and primary-grade children will find this well-crafted book a wholly satisfying introduction to the spadefoot toad in particular and desert animals and the idea of life cycles in general. Carolyn PhelanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved