*Picture book for preschoolers through 2nd graders (although the weather info in the back could be used up to 5th grade!)
*Freddy the frog as the main character
*Rating: Janice Dean, who is a senior meteorologist at Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, wrote a clever and cute book, which introduces children to weather forecasting. Janice is known as Janice Dean the Weather Machine, and she has created another weather machine in this book: Freddy the Frogcaster! The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and make this book a joy to read.
Short, short summary: Ever since Freddy was little, he loved weather–on TV and predicting it himself. He became quite knowledgeable about cold fronts and types of clouds. One day, his favorite meteorologist, Sally Croaker, went on frog-ternity leave after she had three tadpoles. She was replaced by a nice frog, Polly Woggins, but she didn’t know too much about weather forecasting. She was much better at being a celebrity. Soon, the mayor realized it to, and he came to Freddy to forecast the weather for the annual Leapfrog Picnic. It was very important for them to be prepared–rain or shine. However, Freddy looked at the weather clues, they always came up as a thunderstorm for that day. But Polly predicted sunshine? Who was right? The Mayor decided that he better be prepared for either, and the Leapfrog Picnic turned out to be a big success thanks to Freddy. The end of the book has a glossary of several pages, which explains weather terms.
So what do I do with this book?
1. This is a great book to accompany a weather unit–from the very youngest preschool child to a science unit in elementary school. For young children, you can talk about being prepared for weather, why we listen to weather forecasts, and terms for different types of weather. For older children, you can explore some of the terms Freddy throws out there in the book, such as cold front, warm front, weather station, fierce thunderstorms, etc. You could even tape a real weather forecast and compare that to what Freddy does in the book. The back of the book has more explanations, helpful for students and teachers, librarians, and home schoolers.
2. In the end, Freddy learns that it is important to BE PREPARED. Why is this important in the story? How can you BE PREPARED in your life? How does it help to BE PREPARED–not just for outside events, but for school, piano lessons, etc? Older children could even write a paragraph about how they were prepared for something and it helped them.
3. This book has a lot of really cute FROG references. See if children catch on to this. Make a list of the different references, such as: frogcaster, tadpoles, Leapfrog Picnic, Frogatorium, etc. Talk to students about why Janice Dean chose these words and to use this imagery. Can they think of anything else that she could have added in to stick with the theme? What do they eat for example? Fly chicken