Children love to learn about the wonders of this world and its creatures. And Annette Whipple, loves to research and write about those creatures. Her Truth About series pairs fascinating facts about animals with colorful, up-close photos. The series includes Whooo Knew, the Truth About Owls; Woof, the Truth About Dogs; and Scurry, the Truth About Spiders. Ribbit, the Truth about Frogs, Annette’s most recent book, has now joined the series to the delight of children and adults.
This is the first of Molly’s and my book reviews of 6 books for children! Starting today and going through September Molly and I will be interviewing authors and reviewing some fantastic children’s books that have just come out or will be released soon!
So let’s get started with a wonderful nonfiction book. Annette Whipple’s Ribbit! The Truth about Frogs.
Here’s a peek Annette gave Molly and me into her research for Ribbit:
Kathy and Molly: What were some amazing and interesting things you learned about frogs as you researched for Ribbit?
Annette: The most surprising thing I learned is that all toads ARE frogs. I grew up thinking they were similar but different animals. Scientists classify animals in related groups. There are 54 families in the frog group, and toads are one of them!
It’s hard to choose the most interesting thing I learned. Did you know blinking helps frogs swallow food? Frogs’ eyes push food down to their stomachs!
Kathy and Molly: Wow, we did not know toads are frogs and our eyes are bulging just thinking about trying to push food down that way! Did anything funny happen as you did field research?
Annette: Nothing amusing really happened while I was doing field research alongside my expert. However, it was amazing to come upon a small pond of water with tons of quacking without a duck in sight. It was mating season for wood frogs. They quack! At my own home an American toad visited while I was researching and writing about frogs. He reminded me of one of their favorite defenses against predators–he peed on me! It’s good to remember they do this so you don’t drop a frog when holding it.
Kathy and Molly: Quacking frogs and peeing toads, oh my! Molly’s ears and nose are twitching with curiosity! Do you now have a favorite frog?
Annette: I think frogs are amazing creatures! I think my favorite frog is whichever one I can get up close and personal to. In my backyard that’s typically an American toad. But I love whichever froggy friends I can find!
Kathy and Molly: I can tell you really enjoyed the research for the Truth About series. No wonder children (and adults) love them!
What Children Will Like about Ribbit and the other Truth About Books
The cover of each book in the series has an attention-getting, up-close photo of the animal and its eyes—the fierce eyes of an owl, the dark, melting eyes of a puppy, the many eyes of a hairy spider, and now the big, bulging eyes of a frog!
The question-and-answer format paired with more amazing photos holds a child’s interest throughout. Like the other Truth About books, Ribbit! is the type of book some children will choose to read straight through, while others will dip into pages or photos that especially grab their attention.
Sidebars called Leaping Legs give more information in a humorous way children will love.
Whether children leap in here and there or dive in, they’ll soak up more than just basic facts. For example, though many children know frog eggs turn into tadpoles before becoming frogs, Ribbit helps them discover that some frog mamas actually carry their eggs on their backs until they hatch and are ready to slide off into a pond.
Find Fascinating Photos and Funky Facts on Every Page
Here are some examples of page spreads:
- How Do Frogs Eat?
- What Sounds Do Frogs Make?
- Why Don’t Frogs Freeze to Death?
And there’s toad-aly more!
- Frogs vs. toads
- Fact or fiction about frogs
- How to find and see frogs
- DIY toad house to build
- Free frog teacher guide with STEM and ELA activities for school or home.
How I Use the Truth About Books in My Classroom
I’m an art teacher, and I enjoy adding the A to turn the Truth About books into STEAM books, too! In art we teach children (and adults, too) that taking the time to look carefully is the way to learn to draw. So when Whooo Knew, The Truth About Owls came out, I knew it would be perfect for the art room.
To interest and prepare my third graders to make owl collages, I first asked them questions about owls as Annette does in her books. Then I read some of the surprising answers and showed the up-close photos. The page about what owls eat and the photo of the owl swallowing a mouse hooked them, and they pored over facts and photos as we worked on their collages. Those owl collages won rave reviews on Grandparent’s Day!
This year I’m introducing a mixed media art project with a 3-D spider to my first graders. I plan to pair Annette’s Scurry! Truth About Spiders book with Eric Carle’s The Very Busy Spider to help them learn more about color and line. I’m working on an idea to use Ribbit! The Truth about Frogs with the lily pond paintings we do of Monet’s garden.
Soon Meow! The Truth about Cats will be out and will join our art room collection. I know those cats will leap into my student’s hearts to help them draw cats to sit on their woven mats project.
All so much fun, but I especially like Annette Whipple’s books because children clearly see the wonder and variety of creatures in the world and all the special ways God has made them for survival in their environments.
Here’s a special bonus Annette has prepared to go with Ribbit: a frog teacher guide, which is downloadable from her website. It includes 19 reading, writing, and STEM activities! https://www.annettewhipple.com/2022/05/frog-teacher-guide-with-activities.html
And There’s More:
Parts of this blog first appeared on Write2Ignite. I’m honored to be part of this group that seeks to encourage, inspire, and educate Christians who desire to write for children and young adults. You can go here to learn more about the Write2Ignite and its many resources, including
a virtual master class taught by Annette on Writing Nonfiction Books for Children and Teens on September 10.
Before You Go
You may also be interested in a children’s devotion I wrote for DevoKids this month. DevoKids is part of Christian Devotions Ministries. Here’s link to “Little Flowers with Super Powers.”
If you’d like more activity ideas for art, history, and nature, curriculum connections, and links to more resources, be sure to sign up for my newsletter and receive a free guide to 5 Ways Art Benefits Children’s Cognitive, Physical, Spiritual, and Social Development, with a Few Fun and Easy Activities for each Benefit. This month we return to our school-year format of lots of resources for all those who love to help children discover how much fun learning can be!
Visit my website where you’ll find free downloadable puzzles, how-to-draw pages, coloring pages for kids, and an updated list of my hands-on workshops, chapels, and presentations for all ages.
Molly and I can’t wait to add Ribbit to our book shelf!
Stay tuned for an upcoming newsletter and an interview and review of a sweet back-to-school picture book!