Friday, January 24, 2020

Amazing Amphibians!

Amazing Amphibians: 30 Activities and Observations for Exploring Frogs, Toads, Salamanders, and More (Young Naturalists series)
By Lisa J. Amstutz
128 pages; ages 7 and up
Chicago Review Press, 2020

One summer my kids and I decided that we would learn how to “speak frog”. With a pond next door and a creek out back, we were surrounded by frog songs and calls all night long. To this day I can speak conversational peeper and toad, and a few “glunks” of green frog – but not enough to ask personal questions such as “how are the tadpoles?” and “where will you be staying this winter?”

So I was excited to see that Lisa Amstutz had a new book coming out this month on Amazing Amphibians. She packs a lot into ten chapters, starting with what amphibians are. Here’s a quick checklist:

  • is it cold-blooded?
  • does it have slimy skin?
  • does it undergo metamorphosis?

If you checked off all 3, you’ve got an amphibian.

What I like about this book:
Lisa takes readers on a field trip to ponds and fields in search of amphibians of all types. And there are a great many; more than 8,000 different kinds, and way too many for one book. So she introduces us to the major frog families, newts, and caecilians. Those last – they are the long, legless amphibians that look like giant earthworms.

I like that she shows amphibian anatomy, shares their housing and meal plans, and lets us in on their secrets of defense. What I really like, though: the hands-on activities. You can make an underwater pond viewer, mix up some frog slime, and craft an origami frog. Lisa also includes information on the problems frogs face, and how kids can help, from building a toad abode to making the yard amphibian-friendly.

One Question for Lisa
Archimedes: If you were an amphibian, what do you think you'd be?

Lisa: Wow, that's a question I've never pondered before. If I had a choice, I'd probably be a poison dart frog because they're beautiful and no one messes with them!

Lisa is a member of #STEAMTeam2020. You can find out more about her at her websiteReview copy provided by the publisher.


  1. I wish I could speak Frog! This looks like a terrific book. I will definitely check it out. Thanks for the heads up.