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The Frogs and Toads of North America: A Comprehensive Guide to Their Identification, Behavior, and Calls Paperback – March 17, 2009


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description
A beautiful and comprehensive photo-filled guide that is the first to show all of the frogs of North America and includes a CD of their calls. Colorful and noisy early indicators of environmental distress, frogs and toads are fascinating to casual nature lovers as well as expert herpetologists. Covering all 101 species in the United States and Canada, this book contains natural history information, identification tips, range and habitat information, summaries of behavior, and descriptions of calls.
A 70-minute audio compact disc includes the calls of nearly every species and makes fascinating listening for any nature lover.The book also has sections on conservation issues, public participation in census programs, photography and sound recording, and keeping frogs and toads as pets.
From the olive-and-black Pig Frog, which gets its name from its low-pitched, piglike grunt, to the X-marked and familiar-sounding Spring Peeper, the superb photographs and high-quality field recordings combine with the informative text to make this a must-have book for every naturalist


A Look (and Listen) Inside The Frogs and Toads of North America
Click on an image below to sample one of the many different frog and toad calls from the accompanying CD.

Pines Barrens Tree Frogs Woodhouses Toad Wood Frogs
American Toad Pig Frog Couchs Spadefoot

From Booklist

The title says it all for this beautiful field guide to all 101 species of frogs and toads found in the U.S. and Canada. Elliott has produced a masterpiece of photographs and particulars of all our native and introduced toads and frogs. Each species is covered in a minimum two-page spread, with common and Latin names, a range map, and a short discussion of appearance, range and habitat, behavior, and voice. All species accounts are illustrated with exquisite close-up photos, many of which show calling males, while others illustrate the various color morphs some species exhibit. The major strength of this book, and one that almost demands its purchase, is the accompanying CD featuring recordings of the calls of every species (with the exception of the two that never vocalize). A lengthy descriptive list of the calls appends the text. The combination of spectacular photography, conversational text, and clear sound recordings make this one an absolute winner. --Nancy Bent
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618663991
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618663996
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #241,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hi friends! My name is Lang Elliott and I am an author, speaker, cinematographer, sound recordist, and even an aspiring nature poet. I am interested in celebrating the wonder and beauty of nature, touching upon the miracle of existence, and understanding our role in the great mystery of it all.

To learn more about me and my passions, please visit langelliott.com, my personal website (be sure to sign up for my free newsletter and blog!). In addition, I have recently launched musicofnature.com, a friendly online store where I sell pure nature recordings for relaxation and personal enjoyment (available as digital downloads and CDs).

Lately, I've been dreaming up a new book project that will focus on nature aesthetics and appreciation. In addition, I'm planning to produce at least two nature-oriented movies. What's more, I've been writing a lot of nature poetry (the kind that actually rhymes!).

NOTE: The best way to keep track of my activities is via my blog at langelliott.com.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By George L. Paul on February 28, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a remarkable book.

It covers every species in the United States, with several photos apiece, succinct explanatory text, and, to boot, a CD containing each type of vocalization of each and every species (a couple don't vocalize). The paper stock is heavy; the printers did a great job with the photo reproduction and presentation; and it is 343 pages long.

First, the photographs in the book are stunning. Most were taken by Elliott. The authors used their very best shots of each of the species in the book, and then drew on the very best of others' work where others had perhaps even better photos. It is somewhat difficult to convey in words the quality of the photography here. It represents technique and artistry of the highest level, and many years of the best and the brightest biologists traveling throughout the country, late at night, searching out and then photographing amphibians, several of them incredibly rare.

The authors, particularly Elliott of course, are also known as preeminent natural sound recordists. The compact disc has 99 tracks, and each track succinctly represents each different call of each species. The tracks are tightly edited. When you hear an amphibian, you will easily be able to identify it using the disc. And by listening in one sitting, as I am doing as I write this review, you will be able to hear the wonderful diversity of amphibian vocalization that the authors, and certain guest recordists, have captured through many years of travel, and research, and slogging through stinky mud to capture the highest quality audio recordings in existence of these organisms. The vocalizations of the anurans are among nature's most wonderful and aesthetic inventions. This book is the definitive reference.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Arne Andersen on March 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is to my knowledge the eighth audio guide to the frogs and toads of the North American continent - and with its magnificent and voluminous photographs and informative, easy to read text - it becomes as both written and recorded guide - the definitive creation on the subject.

The book is heavy - at 344 pages. The photos are amazingly intimate. Each of the 101 species (Continental North America - Canada and USA) is described in terms of coloration and design, habitat and range, mating and egg laying habits, as well as word clusters to describe each individual sound to aid in memorization.

Lang Elliott has given us approximately 20 cds, primarily with bird song but recently including a disc on insects. Most of these accompanied books (especially the Stackpole series) with color photographs and descriptions, although a handful were purely soundscapes. His last four productions (THE MUSIC OF THE BIRDS; SONGS OF WILD BIRDS; THE SONGS OF INSECTS; THE FROGS AND TOADS OF NORTH AMERICA) have accompanied large format thick books with extraordinary color photographs and increasingly generous text (128, 128, 228, 344 pages respectively).

Lang's gentle tenor voice is friendly and warm and relays the excitement and fascination he feels about the sounds of nature. He is the able inheritor of Dr. Arthur A. Allen's laid back narrative style, which graced so many of Cornell's nature sound recordings in the 1940s through early 1960s.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By John R. Bradford on March 4, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
George Paul's review is an absolutely accurate a description of this book. The quality of the images are unbelievable. This is not surprising because if you see Lang Elliott's name on the book you can be sure that the photography and the recordings are superb.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Saganite VINE VOICE on June 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This guide book has everything one could want from a field or study guide, including high-quality photography, helpful descriptions and facts, maps depicting the frog or toad species' range, and perhaps most valuable, a CD with recordings of frog songs. The book is probably too large to carry through bogs and swamps, which might be a drawback, but as a reference to throw into a backpack or keep in the car, I am unaware of a better resource. A pocket guide could be used to augment this larger and more comprehensive reference tool. The authors write conversationally and do not assume too much knowledge on the part of the reader (that is, this book can serve as an introduction to North American frogs and toads...it's not scholarly or overly technical), but at no time do they talk down to users.

Frogs and toads are an endangered and in some cases vanishing part of our ecosystems. Some have referred to them as "canaries in the coalmine," because their health and survival is a key indicator for water quality. We have much to learn from these fascinating animals, and perhaps limited time to learn it, unless humanity is willing to make the changes that so far we have seemed reluctant to make.

Apart from this more pragmatic and pedantic concern, however, is the simple fact that many frogs and toads are flat-out cool. Bizarre, colorful, cute, hideous, and perhaps most delightful, musical. My childhood summers were a continuous amphibian serenade, and my adulthood has been impoverished by city dwelling that keeps me apart from their chorus. The CD that accompanies this book was a great way to reconnect with that experience. My regret is that, as a guide book, it did not have just one long track that, while perhaps useless as an identification tool, just let the little blighters sing and sing for twenty minutes.
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