Monday, April 25, 2016

Get Growin'! Leaps and Bounce by Susan Hood

"Round and spotted, polka-dotted.

What will they be?

Spring has sprung, a mystery!

The pond is populated with strings of pale, soft-ish eggs, and all the creatures above the surface--dragonflies and new yellow ducklings--wonder at the new arrivals.

But they don't stay ovoid and opaque long. Soon the watchers notice that something is going on inside. The swelling dots are growing--curly tails!

Wiggle tails, squiggle tails!
Scoot around and jiggle tails!

As sure as breezes blow,
Changes come to all who grow.

And soon the wiggletail babies squeeze themselves out of their cast-off eggs. And grow those tadpoles do! Surprisingly they sprout hind legs and then front legs, and soon they are darting around under water to the amazement of sticklebacks, newts, a dabbling duck, and white herons who submerge their heads to get a better at the sight of four legged swimmers, flipping and splish-splashing like an underwater circus.

And then it's time for that great leap of faith, from their watery home to a waiting rock!

Leaping, peeping,

Hopping, bopping!

And with one first breath, there are little frogs hip-hopping and bouncing everywhere, in Susan Hood's outstanding new Leaps and Bounce (Disney Hyperion Books, 2016). Kids will giggle with the comic wigglers as they play out the life cycle of the frog, and join in on the repeated refrain, "Changes come to all who grow." Author Hood's jaunty verse has a Seussian sound to it, with couplets featuring internal rhymes to keep the metamorphosis moving at a hip-hop beat, and an apt refrain for kids to chime in with. Matthew Cordell's slapdash, splish-splash comic illustrations, with several three-page gatefolds along the way, open up the action to keep the story in motion until the big leap, where the almost grown-up tads make the jump to their grown up logs. Some creatures, like frogs, change shapes as they grow and change, and some, like humans, mostly just grow, but all living things go through changes, especially in the spring, and this amphibian story is an able adjunct to a class unit on life cycles.

Pair this one with Dev Petty's popular I Don't Want to Be a Frog
for more amiable amphibian fun.

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