We have two exciting book giveaways for Natterchat readers this season.
by Michael Bright
Published by The Robson Press, London. ISBN 9781849543798
Packed with “easy to digest animal trivia” along the lines of Q.I. facts, it includes weird and wonderful information about amphibians and reptiles (among other animals).
The facts come from scientific papers and range from being humorous, incredible and grotesque to moving and tragic. Bright also makes an effort to weave in conservation facts, with lost and found amphibians mentioned in the afterword. It’s a lovely book to dip in and out of, and you can imagine it sparking ‘did you know?’ conversations. If those conversations include ‘did you know that frogs like Kermit are at risk of extinction?’ it’d be a good start.
Thanks to The Robson Press, we have 5 copies of ‘The Frog with Self-Cleaning Feet’ to giveaway. You can enter our prize draw to be in with the chance of winning a copy by sending an email with your name, address and the subject ‘frog feet book giveaway’ to firstname.lastname@example.org by 1st December 2013.
Published by Reaktion Books, London. ISBN 9781861899200
Charlotte Sleigh does a good job of condensing the extensive cultural and scientific literature on frogs into a stream of absorbing facts and stories through which the reader can easily hop. ‘Frog’ is further brought to life through its collection of thought-provoking and high-quality illustrations. Of particular interest are the representations of frogs through the ages and across cultures.
My favourite chapters of the book ‘Under the Knife’ and ‘Evolution on Fast-Forward’ explore the importance of frogs as the experimental organism of choice for scientists through the ages. These extraordinary animals were already considered the ‘old martyrs of science’ in 1850, and have since featured so prominently at the forefront of science that six Nobel prizes in physiology and medicine have resulted from investigations based exclusively on frogs. It is a small wonder perhaps, that the term ‘lab rat’ has not yet been replaced with ‘lab frog’.
Their continued importance at the forefront of scientific discovery is just one reason why ‘Frog’ goes some way to underlining the importance of these enigmatic little creatures and why we must continue to conserve them. Sleigh concludes her book with a quote from the 17th Century Dutch anatomist Jan Swammerdam; “There is a much greater number of miracles, and natural secrets in the Frog, than any one hath ever before thought or discovered”. Having read ‘Frog’ I couldn’t agree more. For those readers interested in a rich yet concise account of the biology of frogs and their place in culture, this book is an excellent choice.
Thanks to Reaktion Books, we have a free copy of Frog to give away. To be entered in the free prize draw, please send an email to email@example.com by 1st December 2013 with your name, address and the subject line ‘Frog book prize draw’.