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.
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
I See You
among the tangled green
a tiny dollop of
there was only leaf
You look so bumpy
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,