Bound To Stay Bound

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School Library Journal - 01/01/2020 Gr 3–4—Amphibians, seldom seen but vital to ecosystems everywhere, are often considered creepy, slimy creatures. This delightful collection of poetry challenges the reputation of frogs, salamanders, and caecilians. The joyful poems beg to be read aloud; the introduction sings amphibians' praises: "We're amphibians! We breathe through our skin / we drink the same way; we soak water in." Each poem highlights a particular attribute such as locomotion (jumping, skydiving, or bunching into a ball and rolling away), defense, and courtship. The jaunty illustrations amplify the text's humor. A section describes the form and rhyme scheme of each poem. The narrative ends with a plea from the amphibians to be protected from extinction. A two-page map indicates where each creature lives. Another two-page display shows their relative sizes and highlights their threat of extinction. The glossary succinctly defines terms like food loop, vernal pool, and ambush predator. VERDICT Although there are no pronunciation guides and the prose descriptions are written in small font, the glorious illustrations and poems outweigh these shortcomings to make a fun and informative addition for nature lovers.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA - Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.

Booklist - 03/01/2020 *Starred Review* “Come see our amazing show!” cheer the amphibian acrobats in the opening poem of this compendium on frogs, toads, salamanders, and the lesser-known caecilians. Using the same format as Superlative Birds (2019) and Leaf Litter Critters (2018), which never gets old, Bulion pairs jaunty poems with science notes. Each poem personifies a specific amphibian and its special trait, from the Fuji tree frog (which uses an aerial twist to escape predators) to the Taita African caecilian (whose first meal is peeled-off layers of its mother’s skin). The thorough yet equally spirited science notes complement the poems by explaining how amphibians use their special traits to help with capturing prey, mating, protecting their young, and general survival. Cartoonish digital art depicts the amphibians in action and extends the performance theme. The final poem appeals directly to youngsters, urging them to care for these endangered species and their disappearing habitats. The learning doesn’t stop there, however. Concluding “Poetry Notes” offer information on each poetry format and tips for reading the poems out loud. Additional back matter includes a color-coded map of the amphibians’ habitat ranges, an infographic featuring their relative sizes and levels of threat for extinction, and conservation tips and resources. Once again, Bulion awes—and ewws—readers with facts disguised as fun. - Copyright 2020 Booklist.

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