Hop on over for Frog-Worthy Poetry this Perfect Picture Book Friday

I’m sure in a past post, I shared the story of how I once came to care for tree frogs. My croaking collection of suction-toed critters began with one tiny tree frog that could rest on my thumbnail. Let’s travel back over a decade to when my daughter was about six.

One evening, shortly before her bedtime, my little girl spotted a tiny tree frog, clinging to the window screen. She might have mistaken the stars, peeking through the pine tree, for the eyes of a hungry owl. Nevertheless, she grabbed my hand, pulled me to the window, pointed out the owl’s dinner, and begged me to save its life.

Photo by Climber Satoh on Pexels.com

Slowly, I slid open the window, cupped my hands around the tree frog, and brought it into our home. Satisfied I had done the right thing, my daughter prepared for bed. I, on the other hand, stood in the kitchen, hands still cupped together, wondering what to do with this small visitor exploring its tight quarters and leaving puddles of fright on my palms.

My husband located a large mason jar for our newest tenant. I covered the jar with plastic wrap and poked air holes to ensure a live tree frog. I figured my daughter and I could venture out after breakfast and find a lovely wooded area to set the frog free. The next morning, my daughter had other plans.

“This jar is too small for Laura,” she said.

“Laura?” I echoed.

“We can go to the pet store after breakfast,” she said, “and get something better for her.”

“Her?” I asked. “How do you know it’s a she.”

“She just is,” my daughter said.

About $75.00 later, I had a terrarium with an escape-proof lid equipped with a special opening to drop in the crickets. YES, CRICKETS! Because tree frogs like live meals that move and breathe, I also had to purchase a ten-gallon bucket, two dozen baby crickets, and cricket food that included calcium powder so that our tree frog would maintain a strong jaw. Then, I had to purchase an artificial grass mat because scattered bark, if it isn’t kept moist, can lead to respiratory illness for the tree frog, a water dish, and an over-priced chunk of bark that had gone through a baking process to rid it of bacteria.

When my daughter found out she had to pick up a cricket from the bucket to feed the tree frog, she lost interest. One second later, I took over Laura’s care and, over time, managed to tame her to sit on the back of my hand or rest on my neck behind my hair. That sweet companion kept me company for over four years. Laura wasn’t alone. Each spring, I found another tree frog camouflaged on a leaf or clinging to the window well. Soon, our house filled with their song.

While I never wrote a poem about a tree frog, someone else did, which brings me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review of Dear Treefrog.

Written by  –  Joyce Sidman

Illustrated by – Dianna Sudyka

Published by – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2021

Suitable for ages – 3-8

Theme – Nature poetry

Opening – 

I See You


among the tangled green

a tiny dollop of


where before

there was only leaf

You look so bumpy

and soft

all tucked

inside yourself

watching me

watching you

Are you new here too?

Amazon Review – 

Capturing the joy of finding a kindred spirit, this stunning picture book by Newbery Honor–winning poet Joyce Sidman tells the story of a lonely girl moving into a new home and the little treefrog that helps her connect to the beautiful world around her. Perfect for fans of A Butterfly Is Patient and They Saw a Cat.

When a shy girl moves to a strange new home, she discovers a treefrog perched in a secret spot nearby and learns that sometimes, all it takes to connect with the people and the world around us is a little patience, a curious mind, and a willingness to see the world through a different perspective than your own. With beautiful gouache illustrations by Diana Sudyka and magical, perceptive poems from Newbery Honor–winning author Joyce Sidman, the lives of one tree frog and the girl who discovers it converge, bringing solace, courage, and joy in finding a kindred spirit. 

Why do I like this book? — Having raised tree frogs over the years, this book was of instant interest to me. I enjoyed that the book moved through the seasons and shared the story of a girl who, with patience, discovers the world of a tree frog. The colorful gouache watercolor illustrations are welcoming and cheerful, each picture filled with enough detail to capture a child’s attention at reading time.

Learn more about Joyce Sidman HERE

Learn more about Diana Sudyka HERE

Learn how to make a fun paper frog HERE

Next time you’re out for a walk, stop and listen. Do you hear the chirp of a bird or the croak of a frog? Be still and see if you can find where they are hiding. With patience, maybe you can make a friend in nature.

Until next Friday,


Taking Time on Perfect Picture Book Friday

I missed sharing a book with you last Friday. Yet another surgery is forcing me
to take a month off from work to mend. At first, the setback upset me. Yes, I
(might have) dwelled on things I couldn’t do for a while: the challenges
of getting my strength back to stand in the kitchen and bake, the
laundry that would have to wait, the grocery shopping I would have to do online
with delivery. The list continues. 

I sat in the recliner yesterday, clutching a heating pad, staring at my cell
phone alarm, and wishing it was time for my next dose of Tylenol. One hour and
forty-three minutes more. Groan. Sunshine spilled through the window and fell
across my lap. Outside, snowflakes gathered speed as they quietly blanketed the
pines. While I watched the snowy scene develop, I realized I had forgotten to
be thankful for the good things I have.

During this month, I have the gift of spending more time with my daughter, who will be off to college in the fall. I can also indulge myself in my writing and take life a little slower. And with my husband home for the first week after my surgery, we’ll have more time to spend together, too.

Sure, I can’t stand or walk for long, but writing, reading, and blogging are activities I can do while sitting.

Maybe I can’t bake a pan of gluten-free biscotti yet, but I have some of my favorite snacks.

Maybe I can’t walk down the trails around my house yet, but the views from my windows are peaceful and pretty.

I further reminded myself of how much I love being home.

From where I sit for breakfast, I look at my favorite area of the living
room, where the piano and my music books generously fill the view. The
wall behind the piano is a space I dedicated to my father. I chose a
number of the violins he built, ranging from early to complete stages, and hung
them in a pleasing arrangement. When the morning sun shines in, the shadows of
the elongated scrolls, rows of long necks with tuning pegs poking out, and all the
gentle curves my father carved, paint the wall, and I smile.

These mindful moments bring me to today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday review
of Taking Time by Jo Loring-Fisher. 

Title – Taking Time

Author – Jo Loring-Fisher

Illustrator – Jo Loring-Fisher

Published by – LantanaPublishing Ltd., London, 2020

Suitable for ages – 4 to 8

Topics –mindfulness

Opening – Taking time to listen to a bird’s song on the breeze. Taking time to gather up the blossom dancing free.

Amazon Review  HERE.
Taking time to listen to a bird’s song on the breeze. Taking time to gather up
the blossom dancing free. Taking time to imagine the deep sounds of the sea.
Taking time to cherish you . . . and cherish me.

This poem is inspired by principles of mindfulness and invites children around the world to experience
the wonders of nature and home.

Why I like this book
Through the words of Jo Loring-Fisher’s poem, the reader journeys across nine countries where children find and appreciate the beauty where they live. What I love about this book is that the moments of mindfulness are things people everywhere share: bird songs, blossoms dancing free, watching a spider build her home, snuggling a dog, feeling a cat’s purr, and more. The illustrations, also by the author, brim with emotion, color, and playfulness.

After sharing this book with a child, really look at your surroundings, gaze
out the window, take a walk, and notice the many things that bring you joy.

You could…

Dedicate a notebook for your mindful moments and write five to ten things
that lift your spirits each day.

Keep a sketch diary and draw a picture of the most wonderful thing you saw
that day. Imagine how amazing your book will be at the end of a week, a month,
or a year.

Visit Jo Loring-Fisher HERE.

Until next Friday.

The Monday Poems Embrace the Purification of Gold and Friendship.

Not that many years ago, I hung out with a group of friends in a restaurant. Someone brought up a topic that set off one of the worst, heated debates that threatened to tear us all apart. Two of my friends were on the verge of walking away and never looking back. Every group of friends seems to come with one neutral individual who refuses to take a side, remains quiet, and listens. James was that friend. He interrupted the tense moment to ask us a question.

“Does anyone know how gold is purified?”

The question had nothing to do with what we were arguing over. James had, no doubt, learned this random piece of information, found it fascinating, never knew what to do with it once he had it, but needed to unload it.

We were the chosen ones.

“Gold,” he began, “is filled with impurities. To make it pure, it must enter into a complex process.” His visible passion for this topic held our interest.

What followed sounded like an essay he might have written in college. He listed places around the world where gold is mined, what it looks like in its raw state, and, most importantly, how a refinery removes impurities to transform the raw gold into pure and beautiful metal. What none of us realized was that his topic fit our situation as flawlessly as that purified gold.

Here’s a brief explanation of the purification process he shared with us.

  1. Gold is melted in a furnace.
  2. Chlorine is bubbled through the liquid.
  3. The chlorine attaches to impurities in the gold.
  4. The impurities move toward the top.
  5. Next, they are skimmed off,
  6. Leaving the gold more pure.

“Cool,” someone said, “but what does that have to do with our debate.”

“EVERYTHING,” James replied.

“The purification of gold isn’t different from the journey of a friendship,” he said. “In the beginning, while we’re getting to know each other, we come up against complications that heat us like the first step taken to purify the gold.

We bring our issues into the open, much like the impurities rising to the surface of heated gold. Here, problems must be dealt with. Once we have resolved those problems, we can skim them out, making our friendship more pure and beautiful and more valuable. Work through this moment,” he said. “because friendship is always worth it.” James walked out and left us to finish our debate.

That evening four friends grew closer to each other because of their renewed understanding.

Photo by Min An on Pexels.com


So it begins
with questions and interests,
common ground,
and new ground.
Smooth and perfect,
the path before the friends
meanders around bends,
runs straight, and then
takes a turn.
Without warning,
an object lies in the path
between them,
daring to be touched,
easier to avoid.
One by one,
complications ignite,
and the fire consumes the impurities–
burns them to ashes
they sweep away.
What remains is a friendship that
holds stronger,
and shines
bright and true.


Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

The Monday Poems Embrace Hope.

Last Monday, my poem took on the sweet smells and tastes of the season with apples and spice and everything nice. Today, instead of writing a poem about something tangible or tasty, I’ve taken on something that lives only in the heart and mind–something unthinkable to lose, but when this is yours, you’ll hold it, knowing you have something precious. Welcome to hope.


Hope blooms like petals, unfurling in spring.
Hope enters gently from
an act of kindness.
Hope finds its birth in a wish upon a star.
Hope appears in the words
of a promise.
Hope finds its way
on a fresh path.
Hope grows from,
“I love you.”
Hope begins with
a first step.
Hope finds comfort
in a hug.
Hope heals after
“I’m sorry.”
Hope listens

Leslie Leibhardt Goodman

I’ll see you here next Friday for another Autumn-perfect picture book review.