The Girl Who Plays With Toads

A question was posted in a writer’s forum, “How did you play with your toys as a kid?” The writer who posted the question answered first, sharing that he played with his Star Wars toys by telling stories with them, rather than just having them duke it out.

A female writer responded that she didn’t play with dolls, and told us some of the make-believe games that she did play. I didn’t play with dolls either, but I did play with toads. In fact, I loved toads more than just about any other creature except cats. I know that makes me weird for a girl, especially a girl who wasn’t a tomboy.

My uncle was the caretaker of a graveyard, and his daughter and I LOVED playing in the graveyard because it was full of toads. If we weren’t at the graveyard, we’d get in trouble because we’d go off looking for toads. They always hung out where we weren’t allowed to go, and the allure was just too potent to care about getting into trouble.

Then I grew up, but I never lost my love of toads. Frogs and toads are still among my favorite animals, only instead of playing with them, I photograph them and write about them.

I take pictures of, and write about, all the weird creatures and plants of nature. This fascination has now filled three books of my An Acre of America Backyard Nature Series.

This series combines photographs with stories, and sometimes the stories are personal, such as walking face first into a spiderweb, or the scary bug that we knocked off the ceiling onto our bed. It ran down into the waterbed frame where we couldn’t get at it to kill it, and you just trying falling asleep with a creepy bug lurking in your bed.

Myths and legends also abound. The Wizard of Awe has a Halloween theme with genies, wizards, witches, blobs, and other monsters and magical beings. Over the Hummingbird’s Rainbow focuses on hummingbirds and bright colors, and King of the Forest is themed around the big cats — lions, tigers, cheetahs, leopards, cougars, and jaguars.

So not only do you learn about the creatures that live in the back yard, like frogs, toads, snakes, turtles, spiders, caterpillars, and weird bugs that look like they came from the Amazon rainforest — you also learn about hummingbirds, and lions, and Halloween ghouls.

Interesting weeds and flowers are also featured, like the plant that killed Abraham Lincoln’s mother, as well as plants that attract hummingbirds and song birds.

You can get An Acre of America Backyard Nature Series in paperback and eBook, with the paperback being 8.5 inches square. The paperbacks make an excellent gift for gardeners, nature lovers, animal lovers, or anyone looking for coffee table books. Over the Hummingbird’s Rainbow is the perfect gift for hummingbird enthusiasts, and King of the Forest would appeal to anyone who loves the big cats. It also lays out how much trouble the big cats are in, so it teaches as it entertains, as they all do.

You can get An Acre of America Backyard Nature Series on Amazon, Kindle, Nook, and Kobo. If you’re looking on Amazon, make sure to click the Look Inside, where you can read the first couple of chapters and see the really cool photos.

  • Acre of America

    The Wizard of Awe

    Coffee Table Paperback

    Over the Hummingbird's Rainbow

    Coffee Table Paperback

    King of the Forest

    Coffee Table Paperback

  • Backyard Nature Kids

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