Amazing Amphibians: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring Frogs, Toads, Salamanders, and More

Chicago Review. Jan. 2020. 128p. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781641600729.
Gr 6 Up–Amphibians are an important part of the ecological food chain. Medical benefits provided by amphibians are still being discovered. Currently, their population levels are quickly dwindling. These important messages are reinstated throughout the book. Starting with explaining what an amphibian is, their relatives, and body features, plus their natural habitats, Amstutz goes on to describe their life cycles and how dangerous the world is for these little creatures. Not only do they have natural predators, but man-made factors threaten their population levels. Each chapter has activities: searching out and identifying amphibians in one’s area, playing games (LeapFrog, the Camouflage Game, and making Frog Slime), writing amphibian haikus, or crafting a letter to a scientist. All the activities are fairly simple; most can be accomplished without much adult supervision. The information is easily readable. Amphibian lovers will appreciate the clear, bold, bright illustrations. Pages are broken up into a variety of sections (“Fun Fact,” “Look For”) to support reader comprehension. Illustrations, photographs with additional information, and other shaded sections with questions and answers diversify the reading format. Back matter offers a glossary with simple, straightforward definitions, a list of amphibian orders, websites, a teacher’s guide, a bibliography, and an index.
VERDICT Students writing reports will like the book’s interesting photography and appreciate the wealth of information. Amphibian lovers will dive in.

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