That's just to say that when I was doing a frog-themed outreach visit back in May, I scooped up a variety of frog books including Frog Song which I'd just received from Junior Library Guild, and pulled it out to read for the first time to a group of four year olds. I had expected that I'd need to skip pages, but to my surprise they were spellbound and we read the entire thing through from beginning to end.
The book opens with a brief paragraph celebrating frog sounds and their love of water and then moves on to describe a series of frogs from the Scarlet-sided pobblebonk of Australia to the Darwin's frog of Chile. Each frog is distinguished by a particular feature of their life cycle or behavior and each description includes a delightful variety of frog sounds. If you are reading this book aloud be prepared to make chirp, brackbrack, buzzzz, and mwaa as you work your way through the frogs. There are sounds for laying eggs and rain, splashing into ponds, and more as well.
While my personal preference for illustrations in nonfiction is photographs, Spirin's rich illustrative style fits well with the lush colors and details of the frogs and their habitats. The pictures are always beautiful, but in some places the setting and backgrounds aren't entirely clear as the atmosphere seems to have overtaken the realism. This didn't seem to bother the kids, who were mostly indifferent to the aesthetics of the art anyways and were more interesting in discussing whether the frogs were farting or pooping (the picture in question is actually of a midwife toad carrying eggs).
There is a section on "frogs of the world" with a cameo of each frog from the illustrations and more facts about each one including their geographic range, length, and a quick fact. There is also a final author's note about the plight of frogs and a bibliography.
Verdict: This is a great addition to nonfiction that can be used in storytime. For kids younger than four, it's easy to pick only a few of the frogs to read about and older kids will enjoy poring over the illustrations to find more details and reading the additional backmatter. Highly recommended.