Friday, January 16, 2015

Toad Weather - a bookwrap

"Ask a toad what is beauty; he will answer that it is a female with two great round eyes coming out of her little head, a large flat head, yellow belly and a brown back."

Unwrapping our book today...

Let's pull the wrapping off further and see inside shall we?

Ally stands at the window and wishes with all her heart that she could go outside and ride her bike and play, but alas it is pouring rain and she must stay indoors.  Grandma is looking after her while mom is at work but mom is expected home any moment.  

Finally the door opens and mom makes a very unexpected request.  She asks them to get ready to come out with her because she has something very unusual, and special to show them.  Ally jumps at the chance to go but Grandma is reluctant and has to be persuaded. She finally relents and the threesome go off on an adventure.

On the way, Ally stops and observes all around her.  She sees people snuggled under umbrellas trying to keep dry, an earthworm  slowly inching its way across the sidewalk, raindrops drumming and sliding down her slicker, dogs barking and garbage cans banging away in the night.  Then Ally closes her eyes and as she concentrates harder she hears the sound of tiny whistles.  That is exactly the surprise her mom wants her to hear and see.  What in the world could making those sounds?  Ally has no idea but she sees lots of people hurriedly crossing the street then running back again over and over.

People are scooping things off the road and carrying them across to the other side. To Ally's great delight she discovers there are thousands of toads that literally need a helping hand.  These toads are migrating and in order to be safe, humans intervene to stop the traffic, pick them up and carefully transport them across this dangerous part of the highway.  When mom asks if she would like to be part of the rescue team can you guess Ally's answer?  

The illustrations are stunning.  They are not your usual type of pictures that are in kid's books.  They are like photographs and very   lifelike making the whole experience of the book very genuine indeed.  Thomas Gonzalez is the artist and his work is amazing.

This story is based on an actual toad migration that happens each spring in the Roxborough neighbourhood of Phildadelphia, Pennsylvania.  The toads head to nearby ponds and the local reservoir to mate and lay their eggs.  Wildlife biologist, Doug Wechsler says the toads trek on the first rainy night, when the temperatures have increased. The warmer weather stirs them from their winter-time hibernation and the wet weather keeps their skin from drying out.  Two months later the baby toads that have just morphed into adults leave the reservoir and back head across the road to find a home on land.  Who knew?  Fascinating stuff. I want to go and volunteer and help out ....  where did I stash my rain boots?  

Unwrapping the author...

Sandra Markle is the author of more than two hundred children's books, which have won numerous awards, including Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book, IRA/CBC Children's Choice, NSTA/CBC Outstanding Trade Books for Children, NCTE Orbis Pictus Recommended, and ALA Notable Books for Children.

Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

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