By: Elizabeth W. Davidson
Illustrated by: Michael Hagelberg
Publisher: Five Star Publications, Inc.
Publication Date: May 2011
Reviewed by: Holly Connors
Review Date: July 2, 2011
When we first meet Cheery, she is a tiny gooey egg, surrounded by lots and lots of other gooey eggs, all waiting to burst from their enclosures. As the story progresses, the reader watches (and learns) Cheery grow from an egg, to a tadpole and finally a frog. But not just any frog, a Chiricahua Leopard Frog, a frog native to eastern Arizona and northern Mexico.
Sadly, the Chiricahua Leopard Frog is a “Threatened Species” and so, in this story, we learn about the dangers that face this amphibian, dangers that are largely man-made. Cheery has to be very, very careful or she might be eaten by a bullfrog or crayfish, two species that man has introduced into Cheery’s pond. There is also a disease that was brought into the pond by the bullfrog, a disease that could kill Cheery.
After a summer of playing with friends, Cheery finds a pile of leaves and crawls underneath for a long winter's nap. When she wakes up the next spring, she is dismayed to discover that most of her fellow Leopard Frogs have fallen victim to those man-made dangers that lurk within the pond. Will Cheery also become a statistic, or does she have a brighter future?
Cheery is a well conceived book that teaches young readers (ages 9-12) about one species that faces extinction if something is not done. The story is upbeat (and there’s a happy ending!) and the drawings are bright and playful. The story is told in the first person, by Cheery, which helps to bring the urgency of her plight home to readers. There is also plenty of information within the pages of this book that explain the life-cycle of frogs in a fun and engaging way. Readers will be well-versed in “everything frog” after reading the story. With four pages of resources at the back (numerous website links included), the book is an excellent resource for those wishing to do a school/home school project about an endangered species.
Quill says: Cheery is an excellent book to teach youngsters the life cycle of frogs and more importantly, what they can do to help save the Chiricahua Leopard Frog.