Review posted March 14, 2010.
Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Boston, 2009. 58 pages.
Here's a wonderful book that presents a real-life science experiment and a successful scientist to upper elementary through middle school kids. The stunning, colorful photographs, including many different species of frogs, all nicely labelled, would draw anyone into this book.
The book begins with Tyrone Hayes, the frog scientist, and a group of his graduate students, catching frogs from a pond in Wyoming. The pictures of this show a playful side of science!
As the book goes on, it explains in detail the scientific method and the specific experiment Tyrone is carrying out in order to see if the pesticide atrazine causes male frogs to produce eggs instead of sperm. Along the way, it tells about Tyrone and how he became a research scientist.
I love that Tyrone and his students come from many different ethnic backgrounds. It's not commented on in the text, but you can see from the pictures that science is definitely not just for white males. I love that this is just assumed and not commented on. I love that kids from minority groups can see someone who looks like them successfully doing science.
But that's by no means all there is to love about this book. As I said, the pictures will draw the reader in, and this is a nice accessible way to introduce the scientific method in an interesting, real-life experiment that could have repercussions regarding our own health.
The story is beautifully and clearly presented, and will give kids a good look at the job of a research scientist -- one they might not have ever thought of before.