Book Review: The Frog Scientist

-posted by Ruth

FrogThe Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner, photographs by Andy Comins

From the time he was a young boy, Tyrone Hayes was fascinated by snapping turtles, snakes, and most of all, frogs. His passion for studying amphibians led him to graduate school and ultimately founding a research lab. Readers join Tyrone on his journey to becoming a scientist, and follow him and his intrepid team of researchers as they study the impact of pesticides, habitat loss, and climate change on the frog population around the world.

This is a truly fascinating look at contemporary science in the field, as well as a detailed yet compelling investigation of the scientific process at work. The striking large full-color photographs entice readers to look closely and explore the details of all kinds of frogs: strawberry poison dart, mountain yellow-legged, red-eyed tree frogs and more.

When I shared the book with science teachers, they were enthusiastic about using this rich picture book in their middle school and even high school classrooms. One teacher, Charlie, pointed out that even beyond the science information, he appreciated the first few chapters of the book that give us glimpses of “the frog scientist” as a young boy as well as his path to becoming a scientist. Another teacher, Laura, was happy to find a book that shows scientists actually working in the field, not just in labs with white coats. She also found it refreshing to see a multicultural team of researchers working together to counter the image so many of her students have of scientists only as “old white men with crazy hair holding beakers and fussing with Bunsen burners. ”

This book is worth a close look. I think it is one of the best non-fiction picture books I have read all year. Highly recommended.

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