Hip-pocket Papa, a Big Book about a Little Frog.

I love books and I love book clubs, so it just seems natural to start a book club within this blog. On the first day of each month I will announce the book we will share. Read the book and post comments.

Hip-Pocket Papa is the story of a little frog—”no bigger than a thumbnail”—with a big job. With colorful imagery and descriptive phrases, Sandra Markle tells the tale of the hip-pocket frog.

Together the male and female frogs guard their eggs as they mature under the squishy leaf litter covering the floor of Australia’s temperate rainforest. Once the eggs hatch, the female’s job is done and the Papa is solely responsible for the tadpoles. The newly hatched tadpoles “wiggle up his hind legs and into the hidden pockets on his hips.” (That’s why they are called hip-pocket frogs.) The reader follows the father frog’s journey as he looks for food, watches for predators, and scopes out a place for the maturing frogs to live when they are ready to be on their own.

Alan Marks’s illustrations bring the viewer into the world of this miniature frog. Richly colored washes mixed with strong lines give the illustrations depth and dimension. The artwork is drawn from the frog’s perspective and at his scale. The world is seen as the little frog would see it, making it very easy to put oneself in the frog’s place and experience a bit of his world. All of the images in the book bleed off the page, again giving a sense of the vast world this frog lives in.

The reading level of the book is kindergarten to fourth grade. Children will enjoy identifying the cast of characters on each page. At the back of the book is an animal glossary containing facts about the animals that appear in the book, as well as scaled illustrations.  The author also shares some amazing facts about hip-pocket frogs:

  • It takes the female frogs two to three years to be ready to mate and produce eggs.
  • Males sometimes tend more than one clutch of eggs at a time, so their pouches may contain tadpoles at different stages of development.
  • Fully developed froglets pop out of their father’s pockets nose or rear end first.
All photos by Daniel O'Brien, see more at Flicker.com

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