CM . . .
. Volume XX Number 2. . . .September 13, 2013
Do You Know Toads? is an interesting fusion of graphic novel and nonfiction. Each page features one or two lines of factual information at the bottom with comic style illustrations filling most of the page. The dialogue in the captions in the top portion is a comical representation of the facts being presented.
The factual information is simple to read and understand for students in the junior grades. Topics, such as toad characteristics, mating, life span, and defense mechanisms, are covered with important words featured in bold and explained in a glossary. The mating process is explained in great detail (21 of the 62 pages are devoted to this topic.) Other interesting topics, such as toad vocalizations, hibernation and secretions, are covered in much less detail but are equally fascinating.
Apart from a very awkward beginning, the book reads well once the reader has figured out that reading the nonfiction portion first (at the bottom of the page) will give the context for the cartoon drawings and speech at the top of the page. If read from top to bottom, it is harder to make the connection between the cartoons and the facts. This book is part of the “Do You Know?” series about creatures such as crocodiles, spiders and chameleons. Four new books will be added in 2014. This series would appeal to fact-seeking readers, especially those with a penchant for insects and amphibians. Reluctant readers will also embrace these books because of the simple language and comical illustrations.
Claire Perrin is an elementary teacher with the Toronto District School Board.
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