Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, May 29, 2017

The Hidden Life of a Toad by Doug Wechsler

The Hidden Life of a Toad
Text & photographs by Doug Wechsler
Charlesbridge. 2017
Perfect resource for all ages.
I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library to write this review.

Note: Louise is writing all the reviews while Cathy is on Sabbatical. She will return February, 2018.

The life cycle of toads is the subject of this attractive informational book. Perfect to share with all ages. 

Trained as a biologist, Wechsler states in his author’s note, “I have observed toads most of my life. But I really got to know them well when I decided to tell the story of their life cycle.” He made a small aquarium to observe close up how this handsome amphibian goes from egg to tadpole to toad.

The book’s design is very appealing. Beginning with Day 1 and ending 3 years later, Day 1099 when it mates for the first time, each double page spread includes a short explanation of what we are seeing close up in beautiful, well-captioned color photographs

It is pretty amazing to see that In just nine days the tiny black ball - the embryo -  grows into a tadpole, complete with eyes for seeing, a tail for swimming, mouth for munching on rotting leaves, and gills, feathery gills, for breathing. The close-up shot of the tadpoles mouth is pretty cool. By Day 55, the toadlet is ready to find a home of its own, on dry land. “A good home for a toad has plenty of bugs and worms, rocks to hide under, leaves for shade, and loose soil that’s easy to dig.” 

Back matter includes: glossary, an explanation of the difference between a frog and a toad, toad facts (A toad sheds its skin, but it doesn’t leave it behind like a snake. It swallows the skin as it sheds), how to save toads, and an author’s note. Books and websites to learn more is also included. 

The Hidden Life of a Toad would work well as a class read aloud. 


  1. So looking forward to reading this. I have been a fan of toads since I was a kid!! We have a Fowler's toad who lives near our driveway, so I look for it each night :)

    1. Lucky you, Maria. I had a toad in my garden two summers in a row. Hoping it returns this year.

  2. Thank you for the favorable comments about my book. I thought that the readers of your review might be interested in this one-minute video giving the toad's perspective:
    Doug Wechsler

    1. Your photos are amazing, Doug. Thank you for sharing what you have learned and what you see.