March Issue
March 04, 2014

Check it out: Frog Song by Brenda Z. Guiberson

Source: NYSUT United

Check it out - Frog Song book coverIllustrations by Gennady Spirin

Recommended by: Lonna Pierce, professional storyteller and school librarian; Binghamton Teachers Association.

Suitable for: Grades 3-8

Why I chose this book: Gennady Spirin's photo-realistic paintings grab students' attention, as do the weird and wonderful facts about unusual frog species. Each amphibian lives in a far-off corner of the world, inviting pupils to locate them on a globe.

What I like best: Biological adaptations are fascinating and make science relevant and even humorously memorable to young minds. It is the perfect book to pair with the third-grade English language arts module on "Frog Adaptation," and fits well with the fifth-grade "Rainforest" module, too!

How teachers can use this book: This book begs to be read aloud to students for its highly interesting expository nonfiction in palatable doses. Compare and contrast, a Common Core mainstay, is beautifully delineated with the presentation of various methods for keeping eggs moist and safe before hatching, while adapting to desert, rainforest and grassland ecosystems. Nature is endlessly mesmerizing in this book, and will almost certainly inspire students to do further research on frogs.

About the author: Brenda Guiberson,, grew up "mostly outdoors" in Washington state. Frog Song won the National Public Radio "Best Field Trip Book" and was a New York Public Library "Best Children's Book of 2013."

About the illustrator: A Russian painter and children's book illustrator, Gennady Spirin ( combines Russian art tradition with watercolor. Four of his books have been designated "Best Illustrated Book of the Year" by the New York Times.

"Check it Out" features books recommended to teachers and parents by school librarians. Have a recommendation? Send suggestions, along with your name and local union, to