Hip-Pocket Papa by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Alan Marks
Reading level: Picture Book Ages 4-8
Summary: The Australian hip pocket frog is like the kangaroo of the frog world, except the male carries the babies. This story follows the struggles of a tiny (the size of an adult thumbnail) male hip pocket frog as he carries his tadpoles in special pockets in his sides. The tadpoles he carries develop into froglets using food from the original egg, a process that takes about a month.
Illustrations: Lush watercolors
Comments: With a combination of Sandra Markle’s passion for animals and Alan Marks’ extraordinary watercolors, this story of an unusual frog is sure to capture a young reader’s interest. Sandra considers her work to be “faction,” fiction based on real life.
2011 Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor Book, as well as other awards.
- Find an article of clothing with big pockets at the hips. Using marbles or small balls to represent tadpoles, see how many you can carry. Make a prediction, and then see how many actually fit. Or even better, find some plastic frogs to carry.
- Make a poster of a typical frog’s life cycle (see From Tadpole to Frog, and here’s an example). Make another poster showing the hip-pocket frog’s life cycle.
- Growing With Science has ideas for activities and more information at Summer Sounds: Frogs and Toads
Compatible fiction: Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Publisher: Charlesbridge (February 2010)