Monday, February 22, 2010

The Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner

Back in January, as Wendy was in the throes of Cybils judging, she emailed me, "You should read The Frog Scientist. You will really dig the protagonist."

I was delighted to hear that The Frog Scientist won the Cybils Award for Middle Grade/Young Adult nonfiction, even though I hadn't read it yet; I had faith in my sister's good judgment. I read The Frog Scientist, written by Pamela S. Turner, photographed by Andy Comins, this past week and oh, I loved it!

Part of the Scientists in the Field series from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, The Frog Scientist gives a close-up (very froggy) view into the life of biologist Tyrone Hayes. Hayes and his students at Berkeley move between pond and lab as they study the effects of atrazine (a pesticide commonly used in the U.S.) on frogs.

"Watch out, they kill some frogs," my daughter solemnly warned her father when he picked up this book. While readers don't actually see the dissection, Turner describes in fascinating detail how the experiments are set up and conducted, including the removal of tiny, tiny kidneys and testes from young frogs in the lab.

Science teachers will rejoice in the clear, concise explanations of how a hypothesis, manipulated variable, responding variable, and control group are used in the real world.

Students will be fascinated by the photographs and descriptions of unusual, sometimes endangered or extinct, amphibians.

And everyone who loves books, like me, will thrill to the sight of Tyrone Hayes reading his children the book that started it all, a gift from his own mother when he was a little boy.

Thanks, Cybils panelists and judges, for sharing The Frog Scientist with all of us.

Cybils finalists for Non-Fiction Middle Grade & Young Adult Books

Complete list of Cybils winners


SiS said...

Great review. I can't wait to read it!

Iris's solemn warning to Matthew was so cute.

Wendy said...

So glad you guys liked it! I laughed at that book "What is a Frog?" that they're reading, because I have another in the series, "What is a Cow?" that I have read aloud at many a campfire; I doubt, though, that I sparked any careers in dairying.

Anonymous said...

I'm very happy to see this book win the Cybils. I couldn't get anybody to talk about it at Heavy Medal, but we included it in the Battle of the Kids' Books.

Jonathan Hunt