Welcoming Spring with Froggy Books and Wild Experiences

Across the north, our fab­u­lous frogs will soon thaw like the snow and ice and emerge in wet­lands and wood­lands, croak­ing and chirp­ing with all the joy of spring’s reawak­en­ing. This much-antic­i­pat­ed frog­gy sea­son and this week’s World Frog Day mark a time of increased appre­ci­a­tion for our amphib­ian neigh­bors. It’s the per­fect time to study frogs and to curate fun frog books in our home, school, and pub­lic library collections. 


But why do we need a spe­cial hol­i­day sea­son for frogs anyway? 

Oh, there are so many reasons…

As any kid will tell you, frogs are just plain cool – to watch, to hear, to touch and hold if we are lucky and very gen­tle. Chil­dren are nat­u­ral­ly intrigued by these exquis­ite, small crea­tures that leap and hop and sing with gus­to from the ponds and parks and tree­tops. Oh, those adorable bul­bous eyes! Those bub­blegum-bub­ble vocal sacs! That tricky way frogs spring away from us at just the moments we might catch them! Frogs inspire awe and make chil­dren gig­gle. They are also the per­fect gate­way species for young ones (and for all of us), spark­ing curios­i­ty for the nat­ur­al world and prompt­ing us to care. 

I am not a nat­u­ral­ist or her­petol­o­gist; I come to frog enthu­si­asm through my love of nature and the out­doors. But for me, frogs are tran­scen­dent. There is some­thing absolute­ly mes­mer­iz­ing and almost mys­ti­cal about being out in the parks or on the trail, sur­round­ed by a cho­rus of frogs. Like a mil­lion chant­i­ng monks, frogs can trans­port us with their calls, out of mod­ern-day dis­trac­tion to an ancient state of won­der and one­ness with the liv­ing world. 

On a much more mun­dane lev­el, frogs are nec­es­sary mem­bers of the food chain. They are major mos­qui­to munch­ers and tasty lunch­es for egrets and herons. Even more impor­tant­ly at this time in Earth­’s his­to­ry, frogs are crit­i­cal indi­ca­tor species, telling us about the health or imbal­ance of our ecosys­tems. Where frogs are in trou­ble, we can be sure that water is imper­iled and that oth­er species will soon strug­gle. By cel­e­brat­ing and pro­tect­ing frogs and frog habi­tats every­where, we are actu­al­ly tak­ing care of the envi­ron­ment at large, and pre­serv­ing species’ bio­di­ver­si­ty, water qual­i­ty, and our own human health. 

So study and cel­e­brate frogs this spring and every spring. Get out in the mud and muck to watch, won­der, lis­ten, and explore. Fos­ter a love of wild things and wild expe­ri­ences in your fam­i­lies and your class­rooms. And while you’re wait­ing for the spring thaw, get start­ed with some fab­u­lous books about frogs. Here are some of my per­son­al favorites…

City Dog, Country Frog
Dear Tree Frog
Fabulous Frogs
Weird Frogs

City Dog, Coun­try Frog, by Mo Willems, illus­trat­ed by Jon J. Muth (Hype­r­i­on)

Frog­ness, by Sarah Nel­son, illus­trat­ed by Euge­nie Fer­nan­des (Owl Kids)

Dear Treefrog, by Joyce Sid­man, illus­trat­ed by Diana Sudy­ka (Clar­i­on)

Frogs, by Nic Bish­op (Scholas­tic Nonfiction)

Fab­u­lous Frogs, by Mar­tin Jenk­ins, illus­trat­ed by Tim Hop­good (Can­dlewick Press)

Weird Frogs, by Chris Ear­ley (Fire­fly Books)

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