Down East 2013 ©
What makes amphibians so fascinating? They’re mostly small and well camouflaged and (with a few notable exceptions) they tend to stay silent as they go about their little lives. Nonetheless, as naturalist and author John Himmelman can attest, people of all ages are visiting Web sites, going on nature walks, and attending talks just to learn more about these creatures that share our ponds, woods, and gardens.
Like so many of us, John never lost his childhood affection for "’phibs" — frogs, toads, salamanders (including newts and mudpuppies). Unlike most of us, he still hasn’t outgrown a tendency to fling himself outdoors to find migrating salamanders, or chorusing tree frogs, or wood frogs frozen solid (but very much alive) beneath fallen leaves. Although the "protagonists" of Discovering Amphibians may be small, the scope of the book is broad, covering everything from amphibians’ physiology to their place in folklore and literature to possible explanations of why so many amphibian populations have declined. Along the way we learn where to find the different species of ’phibs, how to handle them safely, how to create vernal pools and year-round pond habitats for them, and how to effectively protect the populations of amphibians in our own areas.
"A pleasant, interesting, and useful book, colored with the author’s affection for and knowledge of his subject, and presented with a sense of humor." —The Camden Herald, Camden, Maine
"There are several examples in the book which stand alone as essays to be read and re-read, but the book itself is a treasure which won’t stay on the shelf very long." — The Courier-Gazette, Rockland, Maine
"The easy-to-follow tone, humor, and informative content make Discovering Amphibians an all-around excellent read." — Habitat, Maine Audubon
"Perfect for any naturalist looking for more information about frogs and salamanders. Blending well-written and researched chapters on natural history with sharp, color photographs, Discovering Amphibians goes much deeper than the average field guide." —Burlington Free Press, Burlington, Vermont