Friday, June 14, 2013

The Mystery of Darwin's Frog

The Mystery of Darwin's Frog
by Marty Crump, illustrated by Steve Jenkins and Edel Rodriguez
Boyds Mill, 2013.  39 pgs.  Nonfiction

     Darwin's frog is so named because it was discovered by Charles Darwin in Chile in 1834.  This particular--and peculiar!--frog has a flap of skin poking out over its nose, but what is especially unusual is that after the mother lays her eggs, the father slurps the eggs up and keeps them in his vocal sacs until they metamorphose from polliwogs into frogs, and then they hop out of his mouth.  Weird but true.  Marty Crump is a behavioral ecologist who teaches at Utah State University.  She has a terrific prose style for children, and with the addition of Steve Jenkins' drawings and Edel Rodriguez's photographs, The Mystery of Darwin's Frog becomes a really attractive and fascinating account of a particular species that illustrates the wide range of animal types in the world. There is much in this fine volume about the nature of scientific inquiry as well--stories of how long, and how carefully scientists observed Darwin's frog to figure out why baby frogs were popping out of the father frog's mouth, and what the mother frog's relationship is to her mate and their babies. Any budding zoologist should find a treasure of information in this slim volume.

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