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Resources, Resources: It’s National Frog Month!

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Resources, Resources

It’s National Frog Month!


By Becky (Ribbit) Rupp

Our local hardware store is selling green rubber boots with frog faces on the toes – and right on time, since April is National Frog Month.
Some resources to help you celebrate:

For ages 4-7, see Robert Kalan’s Jump, Frog, Jump! (Greenwillow, 1989) in which a frog, out to nab a fly, ends up on the dangerous receiving end of a food chain of hungry animals. The cumulative text (“This is the turtle that slid into the pond and ate the snake that dropped from a branch and swallowed the fish that swam after the frog…”) is punctuated with a chorus of “Jump, frog, jump!”

In Mercer Mayer’s wordless picture-book A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2003), a boy and his dog do their very best to catch a frog – a messy endeavor that finally lands them at home in the bathtub, where the now-lonesome frog joins them. There are several equally adorable sequels, including Frog, Where Are You?, One Frog Too Many, and Frog Goes to Dinner.

Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad series for ages 4-8 features what may be the most appealing amphibians in children’s literature. Frog is tolerant, sensible, and understanding; his best friend Toad is impatient, accident-prone, and given to fits. Toad loses his buttons, his garden seeds don’t come up on time his raked leaves blow away, his ice-cream cone melts, and he looks silly in his bathing suit – but he eventually copes with adversity, with the cheerful help of Frog. Books include Frog and Toad Are Friends (HarperCollins, 1979), Days With Frog and Toad, Frog and Toad Together, and Frog and Toad All Year.
For accompanying activities, check out the Frog and Toad Cyberguide.

More Frog Month Fun

Jon Scieszka’s The Frog Prince, Continued (Puffin, 1994) for ages 5-9 is a giggle-provoking take on the fairy-tale frog who – kissed by the princess – becomes a handsome prince. The aftermath, however, is not all it’s cracked up to be: the disenchanted frog misses his pond and annoys the princess by continually sticking out his tongue and hopping about on the furniture. Finally, miserable, he sets out to find the witch who can turn him back into a frog again. There’s a terrific twisted happy ending.
See Timeless Teacher Stuff for a scripted version of the book – how about putting on a homeschool play? (Need frog masks? For printable versions, visit Activity Village!

The University of Pittsburgh offers fifteen different Frog King stories online, including versions from Germany, Scotland, Korea, and China.

Sur la Lune Fairytales has an annotated version of the “Frog King,” along with related illustrations, a history, and a book list.

For ages 7-11, Donna Jo Napoli’s The Prince of the Pond (Puffin, 1994) is the often hilarious tale of a hapless enchanted prince who – in frog – simply isn’t able to talk properly, since he doesn’t know how to handle his long frog tongue. There’s a lot of incidental science, as the inarticulate prince – with the help of a female frog named Jade – learns about life as an amphibian.

In E.D. Baker’s The Frog Princess (Bloomsbury USA, 2004) for ages 8-12, the Princess Esmeralda helpfully kisses an enchanted frog and ends up a frog herself. The froggy duo embark on a quest to find the witch who can turn them into human beings once again, an adventure that eventually includes dragons, nymphs, and a friendly bat. There are many sequels, among them Dragon’s Breath, Once Upon a Curse, and The Salamander Spell.

For readers ages 12 and up, the text of “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” – Mark Twain’s first literary success, originally published in 1865 – is available online.

For science lovers, Wendy Pfeffer’s From Tadpole to Frog (HarperCollins, 1994) in the Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science series is a simple introduction to the life cycle of frogs for ages 4-8. In the same series, also see Judy Hawes’s Why Frogs Are Wet (HarperCollins, 2000), an overview of frog behavior and physiology. (Included suggestion: make a batch of tapioca pudding to see what frog’s eggs feel like.)

Gail Gibbons’s Frogs (Holiday House, 1994) for ages 5-8 covers frog life with bright illustrations and a straightforward informative text. For the same age group, also see Elizabeth Carney’s Frogs! (National Geographic Children’s Books, 2009), which is illustrated with terrific color photographs.
(Visit the link for the complete list of National Geographic Readers.

David Schwartz’s If You Hopped Like a Frog (Scholastic, 1999) – ostensibly for ages 5-9 – is a catchy and creative overview of the mathematics of animal behavior. If you ate like a shrew, for example, you could down 700 hamburgers a day; and if you hopped like a frog, you could spring from home plate to first base in one impressive boing. Humorous illustrations and lots of interesting facts make for a fun (and educational) read.

For older frog fans, the 200-page photo-illustrated Frogs: A Chorus of Colors by John L. Behier and Deborah A. Behier (Sterling, 2008) covers frog biology, frog behaviors, frog species around the world, and the present worrisome decline in frog populations. Included are sidebars crammed with fascinating facts and fun trivia.
The accompanying Frogs: A Chorus of Colors from the American Museum of Natural History includes general information about frogs, a dart poison frog vivarium, audio clips of frog calls, frog fun facts, and an account of frog research at the museum.

Raising Frogs in the Classroom provides helpful information and instructions on collecting frog eggs and creating frog habitats.

Grow a Frog

For those who don’t have access to a friendly egg-filled frog pond, Grow-a-Frog kits are available from a number of sources, among them Edmund Scientific, Carolina Biological Supply Company, and Einstein’s Toolbox. Most kits include a small plastic aquarium, tadpole food, an instruction manual, and a coupon for a tadpole. (One caution: once your tadpole turns into a frog, you’ll need a bigger aquarium and frog food.)

Edmund Scientific and Carolina Biological Supply are both excellent sources for a range of materials for young frog scientists. Edmund Scientific, for example, carries frog specimens for dissection (or, alternatively, a Simulated Frog Dissection Kit in plastic), a build-your-own frog robot ($24.95), and a Grow Your Own Lily Pad kit ($6.95).
The Enchanted Learning website includes frog print-outs and coloring pages, patterns for frog puppets, a frog life cycle quiz, and instructions for making an origami jumping frog and a frog pop-up card.

From the San Francisco Exploratorium, Frogs has a wealth of frog information, frog video and audio clips, a tour of Rayne, Louisiana (a.k.a. “Frog City”), instructions for making your own rainstick, and a list of frog links.

Save the Frogs, the website of an amphibian conservation organization, has information on declining frog populations, frog art and poetry contests, and instructions for building a frog pond. The group sponsors an annual Save the Frogs Day, which takes place this year on April 29.

Frogwatch is a citizen science program sponsored by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Participating individuals and families learn about local wetlands and collect data on frog calls.

See also many more fun learning resources from Becky at the Resources link at the top of the page.

And finally, how about frog poetry?

Jack Prelutsky’s The Frog Wore Red Suspenders (Greenwillow, 2005) for ages 3-8 is a playful collection of 28 geographical poems that covers the country from Minneapolis to Tuscaloosa. The title poem features pigs in purple vests and a lot of cheerful suspender-wearing frogs.

Douglas Florian’s lizards, frogs, and polliwogs (Sandpiper, 2005) for ages 5-10 features 21 illustrated poems about frogs and other amphibians. Among this is “The Polliwogs,” a giggly jiggler that begins “We pollywoggle/We pollywiggle/We shake in lakes/Make wakes/And wriggle.”

After all, not only is April National Frog Month, it’s also National Poetry Month.

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