I Saw a Bullfrog

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9780375821738: I Saw a Bullfrog

Everyone knows what a bullfrog looks like . . . and a catfish. Don’t they? What if these creatures looked just like their names–half one animal and half another? Here’s an imaginary menagerie–from the cowbird to the zebra fish–richly illustrated in full color and with stunning detail. Each animal is introduced by a poem that speculates about what such a curiously named creature might be like. Also included is a glossary of facts about the real animals that inspired the author to create the imaginary ones.

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 4-A delightful combination of reality and imagination. Stern takes artistic license with compound-named animals, such as the bullfrog, the deer mouse, and the rhinoceros beetle. Exquisitely detailed and wonderfully textured, her acrylic-and-pencil fantasies morph unlikely pairings, such as a zebra and a fish, into a single creature. In addition to combining accurate physical features, Stern infuses her animals with the personalities of their namesakes. The cowbird sits, sweetly serene; the tiger shark snarls through the sea. Both illustrations and text are presented against a white background, but the fantastic animals are often nosing beyond the pages' colored borders, ready to pounce or swim away. The accompanying rhyming quatrains read smoothly for the most part, and raise questions rather than answers, leading neatly into parent-child or group discussion. "At the circus, I'll go see the elephant seal./Should I take along peanuts or fish for his meal?/Do you think he'll have flippers or will he have toes?/Will he balance his ball on a trunk or a nose?" At book's end, Stern thoughtfully includes black-and-white illustrations and descriptions of the real animals behind the funny names. This title is sure to stimulate children's imagination and motivate them to create their own hybrids. Pair it with Jack Prelutsky's Scranimals (Greenwillow, 2002) for a fun program or unit combining art, language, and natural science.
Eve Ortega, Cypress Library, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist:

PreS-Gr. 2. In this whimsical picture book, Stern plays with animals whose names encompass more than one creature (bullfrog, elephant seal, cowbird, etc.), interpreting the names literally to make completely new, imaginary species--for example, a bullfrog with the head of a bull and the body of a frog or a tiger shark with the head and legs of a tiger and the body of a shark. Her animal creations are accompanied by a four-line rhyming poem that mimics the humorous nonsense of the images. The last few double spreads are devoted to black-and-white drawings of the real animals, accompanied by an explanation of how each got its name. An amusing effort to make youngsters think about animals as well as language. Todd Morning
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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