Am I a Frog? by Lizzy Rockwell

Am I a Frog? by Lizzy Rockwell. Holiday House, 2022. 9780823450787

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover picture book

What did you like about the book? The life cycle of a frog is explained to a tadpole by a helpful snail in this cute and informative book from the I Like to Read collection.  The tadpole asks questions, and the snail answers in short, simple sentences that detail each stage of development from egg to adult. The tadpole changes to a frog over the course of the book, and the snail advises of the transitions that are occurring: “One day you grow back legs.  One day you grow front legs.”  When the tadpole is finally able to climb out of the water, breathe the air, and catch and eat a dragonfly, the snail confirms: “Now you are a frog.” 

The dialog between tadpole and snail is the only text in the book, and this a very effective device.  The tadpole’s questions are in purple type, and the snail’s concise, but thorough, answers are in black.  Soothing watercolor artwork in earthy and green shades are digitally enhanced with fine lines and details that will really enhance the reader’s understanding of the facts presented.  Children will love the tadpole’s cute face and appreciate the simplicity of the writing.  A solid early reader from a respected nonfiction author, Am I a Frog? will certainly be a welcome addition to most primary level science collections.

Anything you did not like about the book? It is not completely clear that the snail is the tadpole’s teacher; I inferred it from its appearance on every page.  It could be just an omniscient narrator.  Also, I wish there had been a little back matter explaining how long the tadpole-to-frog process actually takes; the book’s brevity almost makes it seem like it all happened in a day during the two animals’ conversation.  

To whom would you recommend this book?  Lower elementary teachers teaching life cycle units will love it for a read aloud and a resource for basic research; it would also make for good readers theater for two students or a model for writing about the life cycles of other types of animals. 

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Nonfiction – 597.8

Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  no

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: January 2, 2023

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