Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Frog Scientist

The Frog Scientist by Pamela S. Turner is a great non-fiction book. Turner contacted me a while ago to offer me a review copy and also sent me the trailer (above). At that point I hadn't yet seen The Frog Scientist, but it was already a selection I had ordered for my school. I am glad to have this item in my library; I don't have anything else quite like it.
Turner's book chronicles Dr. Tyrone Hayes' experiments with frogs. Hayes is looking at the chemical atrazine and how it effects frogs. His research is well documented with beautiful photographs to accompany it. I had never heard that atrazine may possibly feminize male frogs, causing males to develop eggs in their testes. Atrazine is outlawed in Europe, but currently the United States allows this chemical. Hayes chose frogs as part of his research because the animals are small and can be transported and have experiments conducted on them. Hayes initial ideas about atrazine seem to be right on as his research plays out and the fact that this chemical is still allowed to be used is somewhat concerning, especially as I am located in an agricultural community (atrazine is often used on corn).

This book will be wonderful for the upper elementary and middle school readers. The idea that a chemical could cause harm, even though it is not visible from the outside, is something we need to make our students aware of. Turner writes this book as though it is a story and the fact that background about Hayes' life is given makes him seem like a character in a book. While the text might limit some of my elementary readers, I think most would enjoy this book being read to them as well, and is a great book for discussion, and may spark some interest for further research.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Visit Pamela Turner's website. Visit photographer Andy Comins website.

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