Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-May 13, 2015

My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.

by Sandra Markle
Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez
Published March 2015
Peachtree Publishers
32 Pages 
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. 

My Thoughts
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. 


  1. I too loved the illustrations! Thanks for including the video.

  2. OMG! I so want to read this book. How fun! I had seen the cover but didn't know what it was about. Now I want to get my hands on this book!

  3. Thanks Gigi - This book looks incredible. I can't believe the illustrations aren't photographs and I have never heard of a toad migration - Can't wait to read it.

  4. I read that book and thought it was fascinating. The illustrations are beautiful and Sandra Markle is an excellent nonfiction writer!