The Frog Book – Nature’s Alarm
Wild Dog, 2023
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Sometimes on a clear, still night if you’re lucky you can hear the local frogs – even luckier if it is the sound of the pobblebonk that you will hear. But rather than curse them for keeping you awake, you should bless them because they are a sign that the local environment is healthy. For frogs are often the first to show that things in their habitat are not well, and, in this book that teaches young readers all they need to know about frogs generally, they also learn that it is the frog’s thin permeable skin that is the barometer for change. Because as well as allowing life-giving air and water, it also absorbs pollutants and chemicals, and is sensitive to salinity and temperature changes. thus when frogs get sick, scientists know that there is something more concerning happening.
Most young readers are familiar with frogs because even if they haven’t heard them, they are usually one of the focal points of any studies about life cycles that children undertake, and this is a comprehensive book perfectly pitched at young independent readers so they learn not only about the crucial role of the creatures but why and how they, themselves, can help them through their own actions as well as how to build a frog-friendly habitat. Accessible text, large colour photos combined with detailed illustrations and comprehensive teachers’ notes linked to the Australian Curriculum make this an essential part of any collection of resources about these special creatures.
For a creature that has survived on the planet since the days of the dinosaurs, it is a sad indictment that now, in Australia alone, there are more than 40 species listed as endangered or vulnerable. So when the pobblebonks and the other species that live in our dam start their nightly chorus it is time to celebrate that all is well in their patch of the planet – and just pull a pillow over my ears.