Monday, September 10, 2012


About Book

This satisfying story explores the powerful impact of our actions on the world around us.

When his father takes a new job in Massachusetts, Ben Moroney must leave behind his best friend Tony, a western banded gecko named Lenny, and worst of all, the desert home he has loved and explored.

Ben's adjustment to his new environment is not going well until he unexpectedly finds a kindred spirit in his eccentric fifth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets. Together they explore the varied habitats on her rural property, and she introduces him to the elusive and endangered Eastern spadefoot toads that make their home there.

When Ben discovers that Mrs. Tibbets's relatives plan to sell the land to developers, he knows he must try to stop them. As Ben's obsession with saving the spadefoot toads' habitat grows, his schoolwork suffers and his relationships with his family and new friends are strained. One foolish, impulsive act threatens to destroy his friendship with Mrs. Tibbets—and maybe even her career. But just when it seems things can't get any worse, Ben finds a way to meet his responsibilities to the people around him and learns what it means to feel "at home."

Where to buy: Amazon, Barnes&Noble
Ages 8-12

About Author

Bill Harley is a two-time Grammy Award-winning storyteller, musician, and writer who has been writing and performing for kids and families for more than twenty years. He is the recipient of Parents' Choice and ALA awards. Bill won a 2007 Grammy Award for his children's storytelling album Blah Blah Blah and a 2009 Grammy Award for his children's spoken-word album Yes to Running! Bill Harley Live. He lives in Massachusetts.

You can visit Bill Harley’s website here.

Resources for Toad Lovers and Vernal Pool Savers: 

We've developed a webpage with links to a few places where you can learn more about Spadefoot Toads (did you know there were seven different types in the US?) as well as websites about vernal pools, books that Bill highly recommends and we're asking for feedback, so we'll share any project your class did after you read Night of the Spadefoot Toads.

Bill Harley is not just a great Story Teller he also loves to Sing!

My Thoughts

Ben is having a hard time adjusting to the move from Tucson, Arizona to Edenboro, Massachusetts.  He misses his best friend and the pet lizard he left with his friend. On top of that some of his treasured things he had carefully packed away for transport did not make it to his new home. Yep, it was lost in transport. So Ben is not a happy camper!

Ben has been attending his new school for about two months and still hasn't made any real friends. Plus there is an annoying loud mouth bully that he tries real hard to stay out of that guys radar. 

His geography teacher has given the class a project to do about habitats and he has chosen Arizona because he knows all about the different habitats and creatures in the Tucson area deserts.  

His science teacher, Mrs Tibbets turns out to be pretty cool for a really old teacher. Come to find out she is very interested in nature especially that of the wooded area between her house and Ben's house.  She hired been to do some yard work for her and afterwards they explored the woods behind her house.  She told him of one special place in particular and that was a vernal pond where an endangered species called the spadefoot toads came to lay and fertilize their eggs.  This is the only time they came out from underground.  A very rare occurrence. The only problem is she is being forced to sell her property which will result in destroying the habit of not only the spadefoot toads but that of many other creatures.

Can Ben do anything to stop this destruction? After all he is only a fifth grader. What will happen to the spadefoot toads?  It's not like they can pack up and move somewhere else. 

It is so refreshing reading about this little guy that has so much passion about saving this habitat. The author is not just an amazing story teller he has written a tale about a legitimate cause.  Have you every really looked into how many creatures are ending up on the endangered species list?  It is so sad!

So kudos to the author for bringing this to the attention of our children in this wonderful story about Ben, Mrs. Tibbets and the Night of the Spadefoot Toads. The author provides many references on his website to follow up on after reading this book.

The Eastern Spadefoot Toad 
Sounds of the Spadefoot Toad

You can visit Bill Harley’s website here.

Resources for Toad Lovers and Vernal Pool Savers: 

I highly recommend this book to Educators, Teachers, Librarians, Parents and Children of all ages.

I rated this book a 5 out of 5.

I received a free copy of this book from Peachtree Publishers for review.  I was in no way compensated for this review.  It is my own opinion.

If you found this review helpful please vote yes or no here

Now for the giveaway 
of Night of the Spadefoot Toads
will be 9/10 until 9/16. 
US residents print copy.

 1+. All you need to do is leave a comment 
about who you will give this book to if you win.  
Be sure to leave your email address in the comment
 so I can contact you if you are the winner. 
example of email:  johndoe(at)yahoo(dot)com
I can not contact you with an email.

 I invite you to follow me by email, GFC, 
Linky Follower, Facebook, Twitter and G+. 
This is not mandatory for the giveaway.

 The winner will be announced on September 17th. 



  1. If I won this book I would do what I do with all the books I receive--give it to my local public library AFTER I have reviewed it.

    I review my books at Kid Lit Reviews at

    My local library lost over 6 million dollars from budget cuts this year. The children's department took a big hit. So, in my little way, I try to help the kids so they see new titles on the shelves.


    1. Thanks for your entry and comment!

      Sounds like a wonderful idea! I have fifteen grandchildren so my go as gifts to them. But I suggested to the grandkids that when they were through with the books to give them back to me and I would pass them out to children that are in our local hospital. I would love to see the little child's precious smile when I give them a book.

      Patricia aka Mamaw

  2. This is my first time visiting your blog (found it through the Peachtree website). I love it and will be visiting again!
    If I win this book, I will give it to my eight year old son. He's a reluctant reader and would much rather be outside catching toads and lizards.
    "Night of the Spadefoot Toads" may be just the thing to hold his attention!

  3. I hope Ben does stop the destruction and make great new friends! (Your blog looks great, Patricia. Love the banner art!)

  4. We love Bill Harley, so I would give this to my son, who loves every Bill Harley story he has heard and is captivated by his storytelling as soon as one comes on the radio. We haven't seen one of his books, so it would be fun to check it out. Thanks! skbag(at)

    1. Congratulations! Shana Fields is the Winner!

    2. Thanks so much! He will be so excited! Looking forward to getting it! Thanks!


I really love comments so please leave me some interesting tidbits.