Friday, September 16, 2016

Small Readers: The Toad by Elise Gravel

Behold the toad, latest in the Disgusting Critters series.

The toad has many admirable and fascinating qualities. She waits for prey (bugs, worms, and spiders) to walk by and then gulps them down. She eats her shed skin, releases a toxin when threatened, and does NOT have warts! They're just camouflage, to help her blend in with the ground. Just like frogs, since toads are, after all, a type of frog, she lays eggs which hatch into tadpoles.

All these and more facts are included in this delightful easy reader. Gravel's cartoon illustrations are hilarious, with a pop-eyed toad cheerfully going about her business, unconcerned with what humans think of her. Toilet water? It's still water! Eating your own skin? Part of a healthy diet! The text is laid out in large, bold fonts, including different colors.

One thing that particularly caught my notice was the use of female pronouns. I don't know if you've noticed, but many picture books and easy readers, including nonfiction, default to "he" when talking about animals. I find myself doing it unconsciously, so it's nice when an author takes the time to add a little diversity!

The reading level of this book, like most nonfiction easy readers, is going to be a little challenging for beginning readers but the highlighted single words offer plenty of practice for them when reading together with an adult.

Verdict: Another delightful entry in a fun series. Highly recommended.

ISBN: 9781770496675; Published 2016 by Tundra; Review copy provided by LibraryThing Early Reviewers; Donated to the library

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