Night of the Spadefoot Toads [NOOK Book]

Overview

When his father takes a new job in Massachusetts, Ben Moroney must leave behind his best friend Tony, a western banded gecko named Lenny, and worst of all, the desert home he has loved and explored. Ben's adjustment to his new environment is not going well until he unexpectedly finds a kindred spirit in his eccentric fifth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets. Together they explore the varied habitats on her rural property, and she introduces him to the elusive and endangered Eastern spadefoot toads that make ...
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Night of the Spadefoot Toads

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Overview

When his father takes a new job in Massachusetts, Ben Moroney must leave behind his best friend Tony, a western banded gecko named Lenny, and worst of all, the desert home he has loved and explored. Ben's adjustment to his new environment is not going well until he unexpectedly finds a kindred spirit in his eccentric fifth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets. Together they explore the varied habitats on her rural property, and she introduces him to the elusive and endangered Eastern spadefoot toads that make their home there. When Ben discovers that Mrs. Tibbets's relatives plan to sell the land to developers, he knows he must try to stop them. As Ben's obsession with saving the spadefoot toads' habitat grows, his schoolwork suffers and his relationships with his family and new friends are strained. One foolish, impulsive act threatens to destroy his friendship with Mrs. Tibbets—and maybe even her career. But just when it seems things can't get any worse, Ben finds a way to meet his responsibilities to the people around him and learns what it means to feel "at home."
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sarah Maury Swan
Ten year old Ben Moroney is not only in a new school, he's what seems like a million miles away from his beloved Sonoran desert in Tucson, Arizona. He doesn't connect with the kids or the Massachusetts rainy spring weather and is miserable. In the science classroom at school, he opens a cage of mice and lets one loose. But his new science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets, doesn't make a fuss and, although she is old, she comes to class wearing hiking boots, which intrigues Ben. Mrs. Kutcher, who teaches the rest of the fifth grade subjects, assigns a geography project where the students must write about an ecosystem. Ben picks the desert, of course. But as he gets to know Mrs. Tibbets, and all she can teach him about Massachusetts wildlife, he has trouble focusing on his desert project. Mrs. Tibbets introduces him to endangered spadefoot frogs, which come out of their homes in the mud only once a year to lay eggs in vernal pools—puddles of water that appear for a short time after heavy spring rains. Ben can't resist checking out the shelter in Mrs. Tibbets's backyard that she had warned him not to go near. He accidentally lets out the two timber rattlesnakes she had living there. Along the way Ben learns how to make friends and how to confess to things he's done wrong. He also convinces Mrs. Tibbets's sister-in-law not to sell all the family land, but instead to preserve the area of the vernal pool. Although some of elements of the story may seem a bit formulaic, this book gives a lot of good information about nature and why we should preserve our environment. The writing is quite good; giving the reader a feeling for place and characters. Reviewer: Sarah Maury Swan
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

Fifth-grader Ben Moroney has just moved from Arizona to Massachusetts. While struggling to adjust to his new home, he becomes unlikely friends with his science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets. She introduces the young nature enthusiast to the wildlife inhabiting her rural property, including the fascinating, rarely seen spadefoot toad. Despite his initial loyalty to his previous home, Ben finds himself increasingly interested in his new environment, and when he learns that the spadefoot toad's habitat will soon be sold to developers, he makes it his mission to save the threatened species he has grown to love. This title does not contain the same level of mystery, action, and suspense as Carl Hiassen's Hoot (Knopf, 2002), but the narrative does move along at a quick enough pace to keep the book interesting, and the main character is a well-developed, realistic "child hero." An additional purchase with a positive message that may appeal to readers interested in science and nature.-Melinda Piehler, Sawgrass Elementary School, Sunrise, FL

Kirkus Reviews
Recently relocated to Massachusetts, fifth-grader Ben Moroney is homesick for the desert, lizard and best friend he left behind in Arizona. He feels more at home, however, when he finds a kindred spirit in his eccentric science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets. She shares with Ben a love of amphibians and reptiles and exploring the natural world. Mrs. Tibbets invites Ben to explore with her the natural habitats on her rural property, where she introduces him to the endangered spadefoot toads that inhabit a vernal pool. As they become friends, Ben learns that Mrs. Tibbets recently lost her husband, a well-regarded herpetologist, and that her sister-in-law who lives next door owns the property and plans to sell it to developers. After finding that there is not enough evidence to warrant state protection, Ben uses a school project to convince the sister-in-law to keep the property. Although the outcome is entirely predictable, Harley's appealing story shows readers that adults and children can connect in meaningful friendships, and reminds them that conservation can begin in their own backyards. (Fiction. 9-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781561457519
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 7/15/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 718,594
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

Bill Harley is a two-time Grammy Award-winning storyteller, musician, and writer who has been writing and performing for kids and families for more than twenty years. He is the recipient of Parents' Choice and ALA awards. Bill won a 2007 Grammy Award for his children's storytelling album Blah Blah Blah and a 2009 Grammy Award for his children's spoken-word album Yes to Running! Bill Harley Live. He lives in Massachusetts.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2013

    u ppl goto read this boo

    its so good :0

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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