Ben Moroney is new in Edenboro, Massachusetts, and missing his friends and the desert around his old home in Tucson, Arizona. Things start to change, though, when he meets a strange new science teacher in muddy hiking boots who likes having frogs in her classroom. Soon Ben is learning from Mrs. Tibbets -not in school, but out in the woods. When Ben makes a huge mistake, he has to act to save his friendship with his teacher and his new classmates, as well as find a way to save the endangered habitat of a little group of Eastern Spadefoot toads. Night of the Spadefoot Toads is a book about nature and wildlife, friends, school, bullies, and finding a home in the world. The story reminds us that the place around the corner has its own secrets and treasures.

"Harley's appealing story shows readers that adults and children can connect in meaningful friendships, and reminds them that conservation can begin in their own backyards." Kirkus Review

Resources for Toad Lovers and Vernal Pool Savers
  Saving the rain forests is important, but don't forget about your own neighborhood. Vernal pools don't look like much, but they harbor species like the spadefoot toad that are an important part of the web of life. They need our protections, too, and they're right around the corner, if we take the time to look. Many students around the United States have worked to save vernal pools in their areas. You can, too!  
  To learn more about vernal pools, check out these resources.  
In Print
  The Frog Book, by Mary Dickerson (Dover). An old but accurate and beautifully written book about all the species of frogs found in the U.S. It's a classic.  
  Frog Heaven: Ecology of a Vernal Pool, by Doug Wechsler (Boyds). A great book, especially for students.  
  Last Child in the Woods, by Richard Louv (Algonquin Books). A book about the importance of nature in children's lives.  
  Vernal Pools: Natural History and Conservation, by Betsy Colburn (MacDonald and Woodward). Everything you ever wondered about when it comes to vernal pools.  
On the Web
  A search for "vernal pools" or "spadefoot toads" will turn up a wealth of information. And don't forget to look on YouTube and other video sites for some great videos of kids and adults working to save vernal pools.  
Vernal pools:
  Spadefoot Toads:

The Vernal Pool Association offers resources for students and community people who want to identify and preserve vernal pools.


The New Mexico Spadefoot Toad (Spea multiplicata) is the official state amphibian

Information about the vernal pools of Mather Field
you can find out what the Eastern Spadefoot Toad (Scaphiopus holbrookii) sounds like

Focusing specifically on Californian vernal pools, but there is tons of info about all the other life forms found there.

A few more details, plus a few specifics about the Plains Spadefoot Toad

Info from the Environmental Protection Agency

A quick overview of spadefoot toads


This will tell you more about the vernal pools that Ben discovered in the book.

Info about the Eastern Spadefoot Toad with some great pictures

You can also contact your local nature center or state department of natural resources for more information about vernal pools, amphibians, and other critters in the wild ?and in your back yard!
you can find your local center and chapter

Here are links by state for Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation

What you found out

We'd love to hear from you! Let us know the most interesting thing you discovered about spadefoot toads and/or vernal pools. Or if you found a resource that we didn't list that you think others should know about. Or if there is an endangered animal in your area that you have tried to save.

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