Dig, Wait, Listen: A Desert Toad's Tale


The desert Southwest is full of sounds.

Skitter, skitter, scratch.
A scorpion is crawling.
Pop, ...

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The desert Southwest is full of sounds.

Skitter, skitter, scratch.
A scorpion is crawling.
Pop, pop, pop.
kangaroo rat is hopping.
Tsk, tsk, tsk.
A rattlesnake is shaking its tail.

But the spadefoot toad is quiet in her underground burrow,
listening for one sound in particular...
What is that sound?
And what will the spadefoot toad do when she hears it?

A spadefoot toad waits under the sand for the rain, hears the sounds of other desert animals, and eventually mates and spawns other toads.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
In the dry desert, creature after creature—spade foot toad, scorpion, peccary, kangaroo rat, woodpecker and snake listen as they anxiously await the rain. When it finally arrives, the toad is able to lay her eggs. In the rain puddle, the eggs can hatch and develop into tadpoles, then frogs, before the blooming desert dries up again to await the rain. The simple text, depicting the desert inhabitants along with the toad's life cycle, is rich with the sounds of the desert and the rain. Decorative and varying typefaces visualize these sounds. Bash fills double-page scenes and sequential vignettes with naturalistic but esthetically interpreted pictures of the events and characters. In ways better than photographs, she focuses on key events, managing to imbue them with emotional potency, the impatience of the long wait and the urgency of toad's role. Sayre has added a factual summary of the toad's life along with facts about the other creatures mentioned. 2001, Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, $15.95. Ages 5 to 8. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-Under the sand, a spadefoot toad waits for the sound of rain. She remains in her burrow as creatures, including peccaries, a rattlesnake, and a kangaroo rat, pass above her but finally emerges to lay her eggs when the distinctive patter of rain begins. Clear, often lovely watercolors illustrate the creature's wait, the desert animals, and the brief time the toad and tadpoles spend on the desert floor after the rain. The nature lesson is propelled by frequent sound effects and the palpable need for rain. Notes at the end give additional information on the habits of this toad and her animal neighbors. Pair this title with Lynn Stone's Desert Animals at Night (Rourke, 1997) or Bash's Desert Giant (Little, Brown, 1990) for a look at desert life. Or, compare the spadefoot toad with her flashier amphibian relatives of the rain forest in Joy Cowley's The Red-Eyed Tree Frog (Scholastic, 1999). The only book for children specifically about the spadefoot toad, Sayre's title is a useful and pleasing addition.-Ellen Heath, Orchard School, Ridgewood, NJ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688166144
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/28/2001
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,440,173
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 320L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Seeing a frog's face can make April Pulley Sayre's day, so it is no wonder she chose to write about hoppiness. The author almost dedicated her life to studying lemurs in Madagascar. Instead, she became an award-winning author of numerous books about science and natural history for children, including Dig, Wait, Listen, illustrated by Barbara Bash, and Stars Beneath Your Bed, illustrated by Ann Jonas. The author travels the world doing research for her books, but she lives in South Bend, Indiana.

Barbara Bash is pictured here with the spadefoot toad that lived in her studio while she worked on this book. The artist has written and illustrated a number of award-winning books on natural topics, including Desert Giant: The World of the Saguaro Cactus. She lives with her husband and son in the Hudson Valley of New York.

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