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Children's book shares challenges of threatened frog species

December 9, 2011

With a big green puppet in hand, Arizona State University scientist Elizabeth Davidson has young children imagining the life cycles and life challenges of a threatened frog species in Arizona – and cheering for the underfrog.

“Cheery: The true adventures of a Chiricahua Leopard Frog,” is a picture book written by Davidson, with support from the Heritage Fund, funded by Arizona Game and Fish Department, illustrated by graphic artist Michael Hagelberg and published by Five Star Publications, Inc.

In the tale, a Chiricahua (Cheer-a-cow-ah) pollywog, Cheery, grows up with a very uncertain future. Who knew that growing to an adult frog is full of challenges in the Southwest? “Round and fat and pale green with brown spots” makes tadpoles good eating for voracious introduced, non-native species in waterways and ponds. Crayfish, bait fish and Bull frogs, used as bait and discarded by fisherman, native snakes and birds are all predators on the native pollywogs and young frogs.