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Toad by the Road: A Year in the Life of These Amazing Amphibians Hardcover – April 3, 2007
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From School Library Journal
PreSchool-Grade 2—Delightful verses and vivid watercolors provide an inventive introduction to toads. Grouped by season, the sections contain five to seven brief poems accompanied by full-bleed paintings or spot illustrations. In spring, males awaken from their long sleep to sing, "Puffing like balloons,/Blowing out their tunes"; migrating toads encounter dangers such as a hungry snake or automobile traffic ("Beware!/Please cross/The road/With wide-eyed care"); and tadpoles transform into toadlets. Summer is the time for eating insects ("My tongue is a tool….It's long and it's swift/And it's covered with goo./I flick it at cricket/And stick him with glue"); croaking along with "The Thunder Toad" in the sky; and soaking up rain. As the weather changes in autumn, one toad molts while another camouflages itself beneath fallen leaves. Winter means digging a burrow ("Sheltered safe from ice and snow") and hibernating until spring. Written with simple language, rhythmic repetition, and flowing rhymes, the poems read aloud beautifully; they consistently mix interesting toad trivia with whimsy. Sentences printed in a smaller font provide additional facts. The artwork, which is realistic yet pleasingly soft-looking, depicts the animals in action, shows their habitat, and echoes the text's sense of wonder. Like Joyce Sidman's Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow (Houghton, 2006), Toad by the Road melds poetry, art, and information into an educational and imagination-stirring romp through nature.—Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
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*Starred Review* Dividing the year into seasons, Ryder offers a cycle of poetry reflecting the toad's experience. The poems vary widely in voice and tone, from "We toads are wild and wacky. / We are a silly bunch. / We never brush our teeth / Before or after lunch" to "Fall blows / Up the pumpkins / Into bright balls. / Toad / Sits hushed / Among them, / Hearing no calls." A typical page offers a short poem, a fine illustration, and in smaller print at the bottom of the page, a sentence or two of information. In the quietly beautiful artwork, fine strokes and delicately mottled areas of color define the forms of toads and their surroundings. Ryder looks at her subjects with a scientist's curiosity about the details of their lives and a poet's ability to imagine and communicate what those details would mean in a day-to-day, season-by-season existence. Combining poetry and natural history, the book offers an impressive interpretation of a humble but amazing animal. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Top Customer Reviews
The poetry is beautiful... here is one of the shorter ones and ones I liked called a summer day: A game with sun, I play all day. Sun sneaks up close, I dance away. Sun's breath flares hot. Sun's touch can scorch. But I am saf, beneath the porch!