One Tiny Treefrog: A Countdown to Survival

by Tony Piedra (Author)

One Tiny Treefrog: A Countdown to Survival
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

The red-eyed treefrog of the Costa Rican rain forest stars in this bold and visually arresting countdown book, which is both a captivating read-aloud and a resource.

Deep in the tropical forest of Costa Rica, ten sticky frog eggs cling to a leaf. Only nine eggs hatch. Only eight tadpoles wind up in the water below. What will it take to survive the countdown to adulthood and begin the cycle again? This beautifully designed, color-drenched introduction to frog metamorphosis peeks at this animal's habitats and predators as it illustrates competition and natural selection.

Cocreators Mackenzie Joy and Tony Piedra have crafted a dazzling spin on the life of one of nature's darlings, the red-eyed treefrog. Back matter invites budding naturalists to discover even more treefrog facts, revisit the pages to spot other Costa Rican species, and check out a bibliography.

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Kirkus Reviews

Piedra offers an honest look at the odds of becoming a red-eyed treefrog. . . . Greens, blues, and yellows dominate the absorbing, attractive illustrations; it's easy to jump for this one. A winning combination of information and entertainment.

Publishers Weekly

Piedra and Joy provide a matter-of-fact primer on a tree frog's life cycle, emphasizing the slim odds of survival faced by tadpoles maturing into adults. Luminous emerald pages open as "Ten tiny tadpoles grow in their eggs." Their number soon begins to dwindle as first nine "wiggle free" and then only eight "plunge into a watery new home," where new threats await. As the group's number shrinks, labeled digital renderings feature a range of predators that seem to be taking a toll on them, including the social wasp, wolf cichlid, and carmine skimmer. When only "two nimble tadpoles" remain, a spectacled caiman looks on from the depths and makes a sudden "SNAP" that leaves a lone "resilient" survivor: "Zero tiny tadpoles./ One tiny treefrog." Simple, spare text is balanced by the countdown's drama, and lengthy back matter rounds out the book's educational aspects. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Tony Piedra
Mackenzie Joy is the cocreator, with Tony Piedra, of One Tiny Treefrog: A Countdown to Survival. As an artist, she loves to scribble and paint on nontraditional canvases. As a writer, she enjoys finding the perfect rhythms, sounds, and words. As a storyteller, she wants to share stories that are quirky, hopeful, and thought-provoking. Mackenzie Joy lives in Northern California.

Tony Piedra is the author-illustrator of The Greatest Adventure and, with Mackenzie Joy, cocreator of One Tiny Treefrog: A Countdown to Survival. He grew up in Houston, Texas, chasing lizards in the backyard and capturing great adventures in his sketchbook. Eventually, he relocated to California, where he worked for many years at Pixar Animation Studios, building environments for some of the studio's most popular movies, including Up and Coco. He now lives in Northern California.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Candlewick Press (MA)
Publication date
February 14, 2023
BISAC categories
JNF051100 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Science & Nature | Environmental Science & Ecosystems
JNF013030 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Concepts | Counting & Numbers
JNF003340 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Animals | Frogs & Toads
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Rain forest animals
Life cycles
Tree frogs
Red-eyed treefrog

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