Toad Overload: A True Tale of Nature Knocked off Balance in Australia

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When Australian sugarcane farmers imported 101 large toads in an effort to control crop pests, they inadvertently started a toad explosion. Now there are millions of the dinner-plate size critters in northeast Australia. The story of this ecological oddity is told with a light touch, accompanied by understated but effective illustrations.

Explains what happened when giant toads were brought to Australia to help control beetles that ate the sugar cane crop. Includes ...

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Overview

When Australian sugarcane farmers imported 101 large toads in an effort to control crop pests, they inadvertently started a toad explosion. Now there are millions of the dinner-plate size critters in northeast Australia. The story of this ecological oddity is told with a light touch, accompanied by understated but effective illustrations.

Explains what happened when giant toads were brought to Australia to help control beetles that ate the sugar cane crop. Includes information on the physical characteristics and habits of this species of toad.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-Here is the strange, but true (and often amusing) story of how 101 dinner-plate sized toads grew into a national nuisance. Early in the 1900s, Australian sugarcane farmers imported giant toads (Bufo marinus) from Central and South America to eat the beetles that were destroying their crops. As the amphibians thrived and multiplied, it became apparent that they vastly preferred city life with its well-watered lawns and abundance of food to the hardship of pursuing beetles across the hot, dry cane fields. Boots left out on porches made comfortable sleeping places. Some people even treated the toads like pets. However, these appealing creatures are also poisonous. As they multiplied, people began to understand that too much of anything is not good. Whimsical toads peep around corners and parade across roads in this entertaining look at a very serious subject. Ellis's carefully positioned animals charm and engage readers without sacrificing scientific accuracy. A blinking eye, a leg drooping over a flowerpot, a mouth open to a bug, all serve to personify and endear them to readers. The text is equally engaging. Simply told and yet highly informative, it shows how we can never be sure what will happen when a plant or animal is introduced to a new habitat. Two pages of additional facts as well as maps showing toad distribution add the final flourish to a fascinating story, well told.-Lisa Wu Stowe, Great Neck Library, NY
Susan Dove Lempke
Seibert's "true tale" about nature takes readers to Australia. Beetles and their hungry grubs were destroying the sugarcane crops in Australia, so bringing 101 giant toads from South America to eat the beetles seemed like a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, the toads found the beetles too hard to catch and moved into town instead, gathering under street lights to munch on bugs. Because the nine-inch toads spurt poison when squeezed or bitten, they have few predators and have been able to settle in the area and multiply. Seibert tells the story in an entertainingly chatty style, with Ellis' colored pencil illustrations giving the toads a certain comical dignity, which holds firm even when one is dressed as a doll by a child. The final spread includes questions and answers about the toads and a map of their movement across Australia.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781562946135
  • Publisher: Lerner Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.04 (w) x 9.05 (h) x 0.36 (d)

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