This wonderful picture book is a thoughtful first look into the world of amphibians for beginning nature lovers. Author/teacher Cathryn Sill uses simple, easy-to-read and informative sentences to explain the basics—what amphibians are, how they live and what they do. The text is illustrated in beautifully detailed style by her husband, noted wildlife artist John Sill, who has created fifteen watercolor paintings for this guide. Rich, realistic colors complement his accurate depiction of various North American amphibians. The back of the book features black-and-white miniature reproductions of each plate, along with a paragraph that gives additional information about the species or biological process shown in the painting. The peaceful storytelling pace and beautiful "look" of the book make it a welcome nonfiction title on classroom, library or home bookshelf. A virtual "walk in the park" for young readers. 2000, Peachtree Publishers, $14.95. Ages 4 to 8. Reviewer: Dianne Ochiltree
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A companion to this team's About Birds (1991), About Mammals (1997), About Reptiles (1999), and About Insects (2000, all Peachtree). A simple fact ("Amphibians have soft, moist skin") is followed by a clear, realistic, full-color, full-page painting. The afterword offers further information, with brief data on the animal, setting, or concept shown in the color plates, accompanied by small black-and-white photos of the paintings. This attractive and useful book is marred by an error in the size reached by bullfrogs (only the minimum is given), and some purists may argue that the eastern narrowmouth toad is really a frog (even field guides disagree on the proper nomenclature). These minor carps aside, this book is inviting, informative, and eye-catching.-Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Continuing their exploration of the animal kingdom, this author/illustrator team presents a breathtaking introduction to amphibians. Each brief line of text sits boldly on a large white page to be extended and accompanied on the next by a full-color painting of an amphibian and its habitat. For example, "Amphibians have soft moist skins." The accompanying painting shows the red-and-black-dappled reclining Red Salamander. The slick and shiny moist red skin of the amphibian contrasts vividly with the fuzzy green moss. Amphibian portraits are suitable for display and invite careful repeated looking. The text captures the essential characteristics of amphibians with admirable brevity. Unfortunately, only common names are given for species and there is no information on size or range. The author concludes with additional information on each of the paintings, describing more about the particular amphibian illustrated. This is a very fine easy-reading introduction to amphibians that will be savored by young viewers and teachers. No index. (Nonfiction. 5-8)