Author: Joanne McGonagle
Illustrator: Rachael Mahaffey
Publisher: Joanne McGonagle
ISBN: 978-0-9890088-0-8

So you see Andrew, we are classified by what makes us unique and individual, not by what is common and ordinary. Each and every one of us plays an important role in the survival of the ecosystem,” Andrew’s grandpa explains in Joanne McGonagle’s children’s book, An Ordinary Toad’s Extraordinary Night.

This unnumbered seventy-eight page over-sized paperback book is targeted toward preschool and elementary-school aged children. It would be best read aloud to beginner readers due to longer, complicated wording. With no scary or violent scenes, illustrator Rachel Mahaffey does a thorough job with large, full-color pictures correlating to the storyline written in the off-white scrolls on almost every page. There is an advance review from an employee at the U.S. Geological Survey at the beginning of the book with author and illustrator biographies with photographs at the end.

Andrew is a young amphibian who wishes he was someone else, someone like the green, shiny, jumping frogs that taunt him for his brown, warty, short-legged body of an American toad.

When he questions his mother about how frogs seem to have more fun and are more interesting than toads, she suggests he walks to his grandfather’s house to get his answers. En route, he meets a testy opossum, a red fox who thinks toads taste bad, a gang of bullfrogs that bully him and a raccoon that does not see him.

As he walks along the forest trail and encounters these animals, he has to explain to each his own characteristics and why he is special compared to a frog as he is not a Common toad but a vertebrate, can only hop and has warts.

Upon arriving at his grandpa’s house, Andrew learns that besides being of the Anura order because he has no tail in the four thousand species of toads and frogs, he is a True Toad, being of the Bufonidae family. While frogs have longer legs for jumping, eyes that sit on the top of their heads and teeth, a “knot” or group of toads has parotid glands that secrete toxins to keep away predators.

This toad verses frog tome is a wonderful teaching tool not only about these interesting creatures; it instills in the reader that each one of us is special, unique, and extraordinary in his or her way. A young child will enjoy looking at the expressive animal pictures, complete with miniscule insects while being taught about terrific toads while learning he or she is terrific too.

This book was furnished by the author for review purposes.

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