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by Sandra Markle
Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
Published March 2015
Review copy provided by publisher
This book is a fictionalized representation of a nonfiction event so I decided that it would still be ok to showcase it here today.
The story takes place in a city on a rainy, spring evening. The rain makes little Ally sad because she is stuck inside with nothing to do. When Ally's mother arrives home, she insists that Ally and her grandmother get on their rain coats and boots and head outside with her to see a "big surprise". The trio walks the city streets noticing things that only come with the rain like a rainbow of umbrellas and water spurting up through a manhole. Finally Ally hears it, this must be the surprise. They round a corner to find hundreds of toads hopping across the road. A volunteer, who is carrying the toads safely across the road explains that the toads are crossing to get to the pond across the street to mate and lay eggs. Ally, her mother and grandmother join in and help get the toads to the pond.
The author's note explains that every year in Roxborough, Pennsylvania, there is a toad migration. The toads wake from their hibernation when the temps reach approximately 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They wait for rain so their skin stays moist during their trip. About two months later, there is another trek across when the new, teensy baby toads travel from the pond to the land across the road.
I really enjoyed reading this book. I never had really thought about the possibility of what a toad migration might look like in the city. The story is great, but what really makes this book very special are the illustrations. Thomas Gonzales creates amazingly detailed and lifelike images that almost seem like photographs. Color fills every inch of the page. I think children will love this book and will look at rainy days a lot differently. I also think it will spark some interest in toads and toad migrations. I have included some videos of the Roxborough toad detours below. I would recommend Toad Weather for students in grades K-4.
Use this book....
To jump start an environmental service project.
During a unit on animals, or amphibians.
To show how people can impact the environment.
Baby Toad Detour Video-kids will LOVE seeing these itty-bitty toads.