Special for Arizona: Chiricahua Leopard Frogs

We are coming up on a beautiful time of year in Arizona. The temperatures are lovely and the wildflowers are starting to bloom. It is time to celebrate with some Arizona-centered books!


The Chiricahua leopard frog is an example of the unique wildlife found in Arizona. Although you might not think of frogs when you think of Arizona, the members of this species live in streams and ponds of the southeastern part of the state and western New Mexico. Because of loss of habitat, introduction of competitors like bullfrogs, and because of spread of a disease, the Chiricahua leopard frog is now a threatened species.

Cheery: The True Adventures of a Chiricahua Leopard Frog by Elizabeth W. Davidson Ph.D. and illustrated by Michael Hagelberg introduces children to the frog and its struggles to survive.


Cheery is the frog main character who narrates the tale in the first person.

“My name is Cheery.
I’m a Chiricahua (Cheer-a-cow-ah)
Leopard Frog tadpole.
I’m sometimes called a pollywog.”

Cheery then goes on adventures as he becomes a frog and faces some of the challenges of his species. What happens when he is caught in a net one night?

One fun fact about Chiricahua leopard frogs that is featured prominently in the book is their call is said to sound like a snore. You can judge for yourself because the California Herps website has some recordings of the frogs vocalizing.

According to Amazon, the book is for 8 and up, but I would say that younger children would definitely appreciate it. Dr. Davidson has done a wonderful job of presenting the facts in a logical and easily digestible way that walks the line between fiction and nonfiction. Michael Hagelberg’s illustrations are also engaging as the frogs’ eyes are very expressive.

Although this book centers on one localized species of frog, it is really the story of challenges facing amphibians throughout the world. Pull Cheery out for units on amphibians, life cycles, as well as for discussions of threatened and endangered animals. Hopefully, by spreading the word about the importance of helping frogs, Cheery’s tale really will have a happy ending.

Age Range: 8 and up
Publisher: Little Five Star; 1 edition (April 1, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1589850254
ISBN-13: 978-1589850255
Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.2 x 7.8 inches

Interested in more books set in or about Arizona? Try Reading Through the States – Arizona.


Do you have any suggestions for the list?

Disclosure: This book was a personal copy. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.