Laurence Pringle

Children's Books and School Author Visits

Click on a title below, and read the story behind the book!

"Beginning on a snowy afternoon in February and ending in early autumn, this book centers on a fox named Vixen as she explores her habitat, hunts, runs from danger, and starts a family. This intimate and personal view into Vixen's life is chronicled through a beautifully cohesive relationship between text and illustration...A rich reading experience awaits those who pick up this title..."--School Library Journal STARRED REVIEW
"This book--true to its sweeping subject matter--is swift, exacting, and sure to hook any reader."--Booklist "A great purchase for report writers, budding ornithologists, and generally curious readers."--SLJ
"Another winner in a long series of engaging, informative invitations to explore the natural world." --Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
A "picture-book equivalent of watching a nature documentary."--School Library Journal
"Budding arachnologists will find this an enlightening introduction."--Kirkus
"A coolly fascinating, nostalgic glimpse into life as it was over a century ago." --Kirkus Reviews
"A must-have addition to science collections." --Booklist
"intelligent..eye-catching..readable lodestone for researchers." Starred review, School Library Journal
Paperback--the most unusual dinosaur book ever published!
The most comprehensive children's book about these amazing insects! "Smoothly written, beautifully illustrated"--School Library Journal
"An amazing nonfiction children's book"--Midwest Book Review
"A especial treat for young dragon lovers." --Midwest Book Review
"Words and stirring pictures focus on the role of the powerful black man on the thrilling journey...he is hailed as a national hero." -- Booklist
"Pringle's succinct text provides an engaging overview of penguin life...even penguin fans will find something new." -- Booklist
"Even readers fearful of snakes may find the subject a little less strange, a little more wonderful." -- Booklist
"Presented with respect for the subject and for the audience, this is one of the best of the many bat books, especially for a somewhat younger audience." --Booklist
"The lucid text and elegant illustrations march in perfect step, creating an attractive fusing of art and information." --School Library Journal
"An exemplary nature-study book--accurate, explicit, and satisfyingly complete." School Library Journal
"Full of adventure and excitement, this book contains a wonderful mix of intriguing stories and historical facts."
--Childhood Education
"A poetic text...A wonderful choice to share with children before a summer vacation or to use as an introduction to an ecology unit." --School Library Journal
"A superb, well-researched book that finds extraordinary science in the everyday life of a butterfly."
--Kirkus Reviews
Picture Book Fiction
"A likable book that's sure to start kids romping, and maybe their parents, too."--Kirkus

Frogs! Strange and Wonderful

THE STORY BEHIND THE BOOK

As usual, I learned a lot while working on this book. For example, in the manuscript I first sent to the publisher I referred to "frogs, and their close relatives, toads." That seemed to be accurate, based on my research. However, a herpetologist who read those words made it clear that scientists do not consider toads to be anything other than frogs. They are ALL FROGS!

I had also used the term "poison dart frogs," but learned that herpetologists prefer to all them simply "poison frogs"--except for those three species that were actually used to poison darts.

The book was published with a mistake in it, but not the sort of mistake that could have been prevented. Here's what happened: on page 11 I wrote about Earth's biggest and smallest frogs. I told of two species, the gold frog from Brazil and a Cuban frog that are tied for the title of "world's smallest four-footed animal." That was true: until January 2012! Then discovery of a new, even smaller frog was announced.

I quickly e-mailed editor Andy Boyles, asking him if there was still time to change the wording on page 11. Alas, it was too late. The book was already being printed, and so does not have this new discovery in it. However, when a second printing is done, it will tell of the frogs that WERE called the smallest. Then sentences will be added: "Then American herpetologists announced the discovery of even smaller frogs! These little champions measure just three-tenths of an inch long. They live among fallen leaves on the forest floor of Papua New Guinea. They have no tadpole stage, but are
born as tiny miniatures of the adults."

I hope you will read the Author's Note--A Life Full of Frogs, at the end of the book. The reviewer of Booklist, Carolyn Phelan, wrote, "An enjoyable author's note relates Pringle's close encounters with frogs as a child, as a father, as a wildlife photographer, and as a neighborhood ecologist acting locally to protect and even create anuran habitats."

That continues. In the summer of 2013 I dug deeper to help small ponds in nearby woods hold more water (and life). In 2014 I might dig a new one. Our spring evenings are sweetened by a chorus of spring peepers from the neighborhood wetland forest. Also, almost every day we visit our backyard garden pond. Several green frogs, large and small, live there. There are tadpoles of both green frogs and gray tree frogs. (Two of our cats are also frog-watchers. Fortunately, their fear of water usually keeps them from being frog-catchers.)