Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate?
Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate?
Do squirrels curl up under blankets?
YES! (SORT OF)
Squirrels have built-in blankets. When it's cold out, they wrap their long, bushy tails around themselves so their body heat won't escape.
Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate? How Animals Keep Warm, by Etta Kaner, is a phenomenal picture book because it is highly educational, but, at the same time, it is extremely fun to read, even by an adult. Kaner dedicates two pages to each of the 14 creatures mentioned in the book. One of these pages is devoted to a silly question that really pulls readers in, making them interested to read further. The other page goes on to list factual information about the animal. For the factual page, Kaner focuses on what makes the particular animal or insect unique and how its habits, abilities, and physiological features serve it well in its environment. The 14 creatures are strategically chosen so that they appear very distinct from one another. By utilizing this technique, Kaner is able to cover a range of attributes that give the creatures different and unique advantages throughout their lives.
In addition to the content of the picture book, Martz’s illustrations are engaging, funny, and informative. On the specific pages Kaner dedicates to humour, a reader may find anything from squirrels in a bunkbed to a guanaco doing ballet! The reader becomes extremely intrigued and wonders what could possibly be next. The second more factual page provides a contrasting illustration because it shows how, exactly, that creature functions in its environment when the weather begins to change. These images include Japanese Macaques bathing in warm natural springs and polar bears sleeping with their young in a snow cave. The opposing illustrations and content on the two-page set for each creature really contribute to the book because it allows children to see that they can have fun while learning.
While the content of the book is fairly easy to understand and would definitely be enjoyed by a younger audience than I have recommended the book for, some of the language may be slightly difficult to tackle without assistance from a parent or teacher. In Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate?, Kaner utilizes humor to engage readers while also educating them at the same time. The humor she incorporates into every second page in the book is easy to grasp and, therefore, keeps the young reader excited and eager to flip to the next page. This humor is combined with educational content making the book (and learning) fun for readers of all ages (even adults)!
Readers are not only exposed to many different animals and insects throughout the book, but they are also taught about how each of these animals and insects survives in its unique habitat when it turns cold during the winter months. The title of the book may lead readers to believe that the book may be focused on hot chocolate, but this is just the funny question Kaner employs before briefly discussing an Alaskan wood frog and the tactics it uses to stay alive when the weather changes. Kaner encourages young readers to think about the things they, as humans, do or use to keep warm in the winter; she then challenges them to begin thinking about the different environments that many organisms live in on Earth and how they must adapt in order to survive when the weather poses threats to their well-being. By talking about hot chocolate, leg warmers, and blankets in the book, Kaner helps readers make connections to their own lives. It becomes easy for them to see that animals are not very different from us; they, too, need to develop different approaches to stay healthy and happy when the weather around them changes.
This book is highly focused on adaptation. It also addresses the importance of teamwork; for example, Kaner describes penguins as huddling together in a circle in order to generate body heat that keeps the group warm and honeybees hovering around the queen bee to keep her warm. This stylistric approach indirectly encourages young readers to work together with their peers to solve problems- especially if these problems involve something as important as their health!
In addition, Kaner addresses the physiological differences between animals in different habitats and why these differences help, and are important to, their survival. This content encourages readers to take a look at their own bodies and think about why we are made the way we are. If whales have blubber 30 cm thick to keep them warm in the water (as Kaner suggests), then what do humans have that helps us survive and thrive in our particular environment? She ends the book by directly posing the question: How do you keep warm? This ending is significant because it neatly wraps up the book's focus. Throughout the book's entirety, Kaner has been indirectly encouraging readers to ask themselves this particular question. Having this question asked directly at the end leaves readers inspired to go out into the world and seek the answers they desire. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would definitely read it in my classroom. As I said earlier, it makes reading and learning fun.
Melissa Toby completed her Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of the Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, British Columbia) in Spring 2018 and is now in her PDP at Simon Fraser University (Burnaby, British Columbia) pursuing her career as a teacher.