Review of Being Frog

Being Frog
by April Pulley Sayre; photos by the author
Preschool, Primary    Beach Lane/Simon    32 pp.
2/20    978-1-5344-2881-2    $17.99
e-book ed.  978-1-5344-2882-9    $10.99

A green frog moves through its woodland environment, its motions described in short rhyming sentences that match the pace of the creature as it hunts, crawls, jumps, or remains motionless (“It climbs a cliff. / Mossy. Steep. / It sits so still. / Then, suddenly — / LEAP!”). The pairing of Sayre’s poems with her photographs is seamless. The pictures are skillfully composed, using light and depth of focus to center attention on frog facial expressions or positions, or to show how well the frogs use water, rocks, and foliage as camouflage. Often with one or both eyes seemingly looking directly at the viewer, the frogs — and Sayre’s poem — invite readers to contemplate their sentience. “A frog / is a being. / It is watching. / It is seeing… / Does it ponder? / We don’t yet know.” In an end note, Sayre (Woodpecker Wham!, rev. 5/15; Warbler Wave, rev. 3/18) explains her enduring relationship with the frogs in this book (who live in her local pond) and explains the differences between her subjective observations and scientific study. Recommendations for additional resources, including an app that plays frog sounds, are included.

From the January/February 2020 Horn Book Magazine.

Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford
Danielle J. Ford is a Horn Book reviewer and an associate professor of Science Education at the University of Delaware.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more