Title: Growing Frogs (Nature Storybooks)
Author: Vivian French
Illustration: Alison Bartlett
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s picture book, Non-fiction, Nature
Book format: Paperback
Description: What happens when you take an empty fish tank, add some pond water and pondweed, scoop in a little frogspawn…and wait?
*Free copy provided by publisher as part of the ‘Nature Storybooks: Every Wonderful Word is True’ collection, for review…
Review: I remember the fun and excitement of growing frogs in the classroom of my primary school which had its own pond so when I read this book I couldn’t help but enjoy it and can really see kids being fascinated by these creatures! ‘Growing Frogs’ is an excellent introduction into the way frogs grow from their spawn to adulthood and is beautifully illustrated. The book is shorter than an A4 piece of paper in height but wider and has lots of thick and glossy pages filled with colour.
There is a story told in this book from the point of view of the little girl who at first is a bit wary of frogs but soon grows to love them as she watches some frogspawn grow up. Although there is a fictional element to this book, it’s really a non-fiction paperback and does explain to kids all about the way that frogs grow from egg to tadpole to adult but in a fun way. At first the girl thinks that the frog spawn is disgusting, but as her mother carefully takes some to keep in a fish tank at home (along with all the necessary pond weed, stones and of course water) the girl then watches the eggs mature and eventually become very small frogs, and during this process she grows to love them. The way the growing process is explained is simple and easy to understand. Having seen this myself when I was young I can understand the girl’s interest and fascination. There are pictures and descriptions of just how the eggs, then tadpoles, look as they are growing and it makes you want to see this for yourself. One thing I really enjoy about the way the story is told though is the fact that it does also explain to kids how to be careful and respectful with frogs at all stages of their lives.
The pictures are so colourful and quite simple, they look almost like a child’s drawing but I really love the way everything looks. Something about the colourful child-like drawings makes you really interested in looking at the book. I love the way the tadpoles and frogs look too, they look cute which can help kids who might feel wary of them to feel more for these creature and not be as worried.
I like the way this book ends and the overall ‘story’ told. The book is informative but at the same time can really inspire kids to want to learn about frogs which is a good thing. Just after the main story there are added notes about caring for frogs such as telling kids not to take frog spawn from wild ponds, and to return any frogs if you did take some eggs to hatch at home. I like this as again this book is teaching children, and maybe adults too, how to be respectful and careful when handling the eggs and frogs. There is a notes to teachers and parents at the very back of the book which explains how this book can be used with kids and the book does support Key Stage 1-2 of both English and Science making this a great book for learning both at school and at home. I also love the ‘about the author/illustrator’ section at the front of the book, especially how the illustrator’s mind has been changed about frogspawn. It’s just an added extra that makes this book all the better and more appealing for me.
Having experience the excitement and wonder of growing frogs I would really recommend this book for kids. Not only for children who like animals and creatures but also to those that perhaps don’t think much of or might even be a little scared of frogs, as it might just change their minds and inspire a future naturalist.
-Review first appeared online January 2018 – now republished here.
Have you ever watched frogs grow? What do you think of this book? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂