Perfect Picture Book Friday/ Hoptoad

Hop Toad by Jane YolenTitle: Hoptoad

Written by: Jane Yolen

Illustrated by: Karen Lee Schmidt

Published by: Silver Whistle Harcourt Inc., Fiction,

For ages: preschool and up

Themes: Toads, Stories in rhyme, Nature, Father and son.

Resources: http://janeyolen.com/for-teachers/  and http://janeyolen.com/teaching-materials/ offer as it says materials for teaching. Another fun activity is just getting up with your child and hopping. A parent or teacher could put strips of colored construction paper down on the floor and have the child jump or hop from strip to strip.

From the Jacket: How does a toad cross the road? How does a toad cross a very wide road? How does a toad cross a very wide road in front of a truck with a heavy load? With a little help….

The first two sentences: “Hop toad. Hop— toad! Hop, hop across that road.” (That was two full-page spreads telling its own story. With full illustrations)

Why I love it: Stories in rhyme necessarily use sparse language and this one is no exception. Each page has only two to four words on it making it a page turner. The illustrations span the whole page in deep color from edge to edge, making the story come to life. As the story germinates a truck with a driver and boy come into the picture who are very concerned that toad doesn’t get caught underneath the wheels. As the story keeps marching or hopping along the father and son begin a whole other story in the illustrations. This is how a true picture book is promoted with both text and art telling their own stories. I loved it for it’s simplicity and because it was by Jane Yolen. (Yes, I have a soft spot for her)

For more books with resources please visit Perfect Picture Books at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog. And if you’d like to be whisked away through cyber space to the resource page and the list of more marvelous recommended perfect picture books just click on the perfect picture book badge on the right.

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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43 Responses to Perfect Picture Book Friday/ Hoptoad

  1. Catherine Johnson says:

    I love this book, so rhythmical and toads are so fun in picture books.

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, toads are fun in and of themselves. We often had them as pets when the boys were little. They loved playing with them. We kept them in aquariums and fed them tomatoes and kept mud in the bottom. Just what little boys like. 🙂 If I were smarter, I would have written books about them then. But really, I was just too busy. My hat goes off to mothers who parent kids, hold down a job and also write. 🙂

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  2. The toad on the cover is funny 🙂 It sounds like a great book for kids just learning to read!

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  3. Joanna says:

    I so love this story. But to be honest, I don’t think I have read a Jane Yolen story I haven’t loved! I want to learn more of this sparsity in writing stories!

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, The writing was and is necessarily sparse. You can see from the first lines how you can use the same two words and mean two different things. I want to learn, too.

      In the Valentine stories, just cutting it down to 150 words was a challenge. Saying the same thing using fewer words was a learning event for me. 🙂

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  4. Julie says:

    A book by Jane Yolen I’d never heard of??? Oh no! I must get this book in my hands ASAP. 🙂

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  5. So much fun, this one…

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  6. This book sounds like a wonderful one to share with kids, but also like one we can learn a lot from as writers, with such spare language! I love the cover illustration – makes me want to see the whole book! Thanks for sharing this fun title, Clar!

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, there are many ways to say the same thing and this book with it’s legs in poetry says it all in different ways. I wish I had kept it longer from the library when I had the chance. It was a fun book. 🙂

      Like

  7. Margot Finke says:

    A new book by Jane Yolen is always exciting. This one looks like a WINNER. Great cover!!
    I come from Queensland Australia, where cane toads were imported decades ago to eat a beetle that infested and killed the sugar cane. The toad turned up its nose at the beetle, hopped all over the country, and became a huge and poisonous pest.

    BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
    http://www.margotfinke.com

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    • clarbojahn says:

      OH! We’ve got some critters here like that. Once the natural predators are gone or didn’t even come along, they just take over. Once the white tailed deer were naturally reduced by bob cat and now they have flourished, often getting in the way of cars. We have hunting season here, trying to bring a little population control but they are far from controlled, eating our flowers and lilac buds. I feel torn between liking to see them wild and not liking to see how they destroy my flowers.

      What do they do then, for this poisonous toad?

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      • Margot Finke says:

        Well Clar, they are still fighting a losing battle trying to get rid of them. These toads can make small children and animals really ill. The toads are winning I am afraid. I know what you mean about deer. Here in Oregon they eat my roses and many of the spring bulbs. Somehow covering everything with netting kinda spoils the garden effect. Sigh.

        But hey, Jane’s book is delightful. Great PR for the much maligned toad. Maybe they PAID her to writ it? Toads are very smart survivors, mate. Maybe the US version of them is gentler, kinder. Who knows. . .

        BOOKS for Kids – Manuscript Critiques
        http://www.margotfinke.com

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  8. Tracy Bermeo says:

    I feel like you just can’t go wrong with a rhyming story about a toad! Nice choice Clar.

    Like

  9. Love the toad story. Haven’t seen it before. It sounds very funny and I can just hear kids shouting, “Hop toad..Hop!” Also sounds like a good preschool book. Today we’ve had a frog and a toad. Such fun!

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      Yes, I saw the titles. I’m going around tomorrow to read them. Had a busy day today and haven’t read any reviews but tomorrow is my catch up day. See me roar. lol. 🙂

      Like

  10. Tagging you, should you accept my challenge: http://www.tracikenworth.wordpress.com

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  11. Heather says:

    Prior to my returning to the middle school English classroom, I was an elementary library media specialist. I LOVE Jane Yolen!! What talent!! (And picture books are still my reading of choice!)

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      It’s my favorite genre too. I’ll read an adult novel and right away I need to read a picture book to dilute the novel. To lighten it somehow. I love pbs. 🙂

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  12. Jane Yolen is one of the best. Thanks for introducing me to some of her non-dinosaur work.

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  13. Heather says:

    Jane Yolen has the Midas touch when it comes to children’s books. Thank you for introducing me to a new one of hers!

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  14. Amy Dixon says:

    Jane Yolen is wonderful, and I am excited to discover a book that she wrote that I didn’t know about! Thanks so much for pointing me to this one!

    Like

  15. Great PPBF choice, Clar! I don’t know this one (well, I guess it is new, so I wouldn’t :)…but it sounds perfect for little ones…right up my alley. 🙂
    Wonderful review and good resources…love your suggestion of a parent and child hopping around…sometimes simple is the most perfect!

    Like

    • clarbojahn says:

      I actually don’t think it’s that new. I’ll have to search it out. 🙂 I should have said in my post. So neglectful of me. 🙂
      Yes the hopping around is a simple activity that preschoolers will love. 🙂

      Like

  16. msdiamondhill says:

    well I cannot even think to write a PB in rhyme but I love to read such PB. thanks for sharing. I feel sorry that I cannot read it now.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Well, there’s always later..That’s what makes Susanna’s list so good. We can go back and search the list when we want a good picture book to read.
      I agree it’s fun to read rhyme. No chance of me writing it though. I’m not that talented. 🙂

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  17. jarmvee says:

    I’m finally viewing everyone’s blogs from the campaign. Hello from group #1! This is my first campaign, so I don’t quite know what to expect, but, I know it will build us up as writers. See you around!

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  18. Great choice! I love books that rhyme. And I’ve always loved frogs! I used to catch them all the time when I was little. We were so fascinated by them. Now I let my kids do the catching, but they are still so fun to watch.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      yes, they are.
      We used to get tadpoles and watch them grow. We had quite an menagerie when my boys were young. We even had chickens and turkeys and foul of all kinds. dogs, cats and pet turtles, too.

      I miss all that, now. Miss them, too.
      Aaww got me sentimental, too. lol

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  19. I know a father and son, who would enjoy this story. Thanks for adding it to the list of perfect picture books.

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  20. You can never go wrong with toads! This looks adorable and I love that there are only a few words on each page.

    Clar, did you sign up for the March Madness Poetry Tournament that I posted about on the 12×12 board? Jane Yolen is participating, as well as several 12x-ers. It will be so much fun to go up against Jane! Here’s the link if you’re interested: http://www.thinkkidthink.com/madness-2012/

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  21. I am so hoppy that we both did frog books this week:-) I have read this one, also, and I feel the same way you do about it….the words are sparse, but perfect with plenty of room for the illustrations. Reading your review has prompted me to check it out from the library again and enjoy Jane Yolen’s brilliant work.

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