Amphibian Acrobats

Peachtree. Jan. 2020. 60p. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9781682630983; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781682631843.
Gr 3-4–Amphibians, seldom seen but vital to ecosystems everywhere, are often considered creepy, slimy creatures. This delightful collection of poetry challenges the reputation of frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. The joyful poems beg to be read aloud; the introduction sings amphibians’ praises: “We’re amphibians! We breathe through our skin / we drink the same way; we soak water in.” Each poem highlights a particular attribute such as locomotion (jumping, skydiving, or bunching into a ball and rolling away), defense, and courtship. The jaunty illustrations amplify the text’s humor. A section describes the form and rhyme scheme of each poem. The narrative ends with a plea from the amphibians to be protected from extinction. A two-page map indicates where each creature lives. Another two-page display shows their relative sizes and highlights their threat of extinction. The glossary succinctly defines terms like food loop, vernal pool, and ambush predator.
VERDICT Although there are no pronunciation guides and the prose descriptions are written in small font, the glorious illustrations and poems outweigh these shortcomings to make a fun and informative addition for nature lovers.

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