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Review: 999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura

999 Frogs Wake Up
By Ken Kimura
Illustrated by Yasunari Murakami

North South Books

ISBN: 9780735841086
Grades PreK-1
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As I write this, there are two frogs ribbit-ing back and forth in my backyard. Every spring they arrive, every time with their bordering-on-oppressive volume level. Maybe it’s just me, but when I think frogs I think childhood. These amphibians figure big in the lives of a lot of kids. Even those who would never lay a hand on one often fall victim to their fascinating grossness. Originally published in Japan, 999 Frogs Wake Up continues the story begun in 999 Tadpoles. Similar to its predecessor, this is a simple tale, well-told.

It’s spring and Mother Frog pops her head out of the mud. Time to awaken her brood. But when you have 999 kids, the accounting can be difficult.

‘One, two, three …,’ Mother Frog counted.

But no matter how many times she counted, she could only find 998 froglets.

The mystery is solved when sleepyheaded big brother finally emerges. But there are other slumbering creatures as well, and big brother and the rest of the family set out to rouse them. Turtle, lizard, ladybugs – everything’s a breeze until they come across a big snake, where some quick thinking by Mother Frog ensures the froglets will live to see more adventures.

The illustrations are simple and bold. White space is a key element, making the froglets and the other creatures leap off the page.

Although it’s fiction, I could see 999 Frogs Wake Up working well for introducing nonfiction concepts. The story provides a number of jump off points for exploration on hibernation, habitats, ecosystems, life cycles, and more. It also ranks high the on the read aloud meter. An all-around good book to have on hand.

Review copy from the publisher.

New feature! Great Kid Books, The Nonfiction Detectives, Kid Lit Frenzy, and I are teaming up to review books on similar topics. We’re calling it Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries.

Great Kid Books reviews Frogs by Gail Gibbons and Tell Me the Difference Between a Frog and a Toad by Leigh Rockwell

The Nonfiction Detectives review The Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner

Kid Lit Frenzy reviews From Tadpole to Frog by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld, Frogs! by Elizabeth Carney, and the Franklin Frog book app

Common Core Standards:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.8 With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.