The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle (Millbrook Press, 2011) is about a very specific subject: the golden frogs are dying in the rainforests of Panama. In an engaging way, Ms. Markle manages to bring us into the mystery so that we care about these little frogs and hope for a solution to be discovered.
She doesn’t tell us right off, but instead follows the history of the frog’s increasing disappearance, leaving us to wonder what will happen. Markle describes what has been done to discover why and the possible reasons for the frogs’ disappearance in the wild, but in the end, we find it’s still a mystery in search of a solution.
Illustrated with photographs, microscope images, maps, and other supporting material, The Case of the Vanishing Frogs becomes a fantastic book to pour through, even for the non-scientific reader (like myself). For the student interested in extinction, animals, or the influence of man on the natural world, it’s a fantastic in-depth look at a small frog that the modern environment is destroying in the wild. Further notes at the end include a note to help your local frogs, a glossary, and a “digging deeper” list with books and websites.