Night of the Spadefoot Toads

A classroom favorite!  
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 8-12
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561456383
  • Publication date: 04/01/2012
  • Page Count: 192
  • Size: 5-1/2" x 8-1/2"
  • Age Range: 8-12
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 8-12
  • Price:
  • ISBN: 9781561457519
  • Publication date: 07/15/2013
  • Page Count: N/A
  • Age Range: 8-12
  • Price:
  • Age Range: 8-12
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A classroom favorite!

An inspiring story of intergenerational friendship, activism, and how our actions can drastically impact our environment.

“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 Reviews

When his father takes a new job in Massachusetts, Ben Moroney must leave behind his best friend Tony, a western banded gecko named Lenny, and worst of all, the Arizona desert home he has loved and explored.

Ben’s adjustment to his new environment is not going well until he unexpectedly finds a kindred spirit in his eccentric fifth-grade science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets. She introduces him to the rare and elusive Eastern spadefoot toads that make their home on her rural property. When Ben discovers that Mrs. Tibbets’s land may be sold to developers, he knows he has to do something.

As Ben’s obsession with saving the spadefoot toads’ habitat grows, his schoolwork and his relationships with his family and new friends suffer. But just when it seems things can’t get any worse, Ben finds a way to meet his responsibilities to the people around him and demonstrates the importance of even the smallest efforts to save the earth’s rapidly disappearing habitats.

A beloved exploration of important environmental themes, this appealing middle grade novel comes from renowned storyteller and two-time Grammy Award winner Bill Harley.



Bill Harley


Bill Harley is a two-time Grammy Award-winning storyteller, musician, and writer who has been writing and performing for kids and families for more than twenty-five years. He is the recipient of Parents’ Choice and ALA awards. He won a 2007 Grammy Award for his children’s storytelling album Blah Blah Blah and a 2009 Grammy Award for his children’s spoken-word album Yes to Running! Bill Harley Live. He lives in Massachusetts.


“The main character is a well-developed, realistic ‘child hero.’” ―School Library Journal

“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 Reviews

“I found myself pulled into this intriguing novel right from the start. The characters are well-drawn and realistic…This is a sure winner for middle-grade readers who like to read about kids like themselves or have an interest in animals and the environment.” ―Great Books for Kids and Teens

“It is so refreshing reading about this little guy that has so much passion about saving this habitat. The author is not just an amazing story teller, he has written a tale about a legitimate cause” ―It’s About Time MaMaw


Green Earth Book Award (Children’s Fiction) ―Newton Marasco Foundation, 2009

KIND Children’s Honorable Mention Book ―Humane Society Youth, 2009-2010

Society of School Librarians International Book Awards (Honor Book, Language Arts, Grades K-6 Novels) ―Society of School Librarians International, 2009

Kansas State Reading Circle Recommended Reading List (Intermediate, Starred) ―Kansas National Education Association, 2009

Golden Sower Award (Nominee, Intermediate) ―Nebraska Library Association, 2011-2012

Keystone to Reading Book Award (Intermediate, Nominee) ―Keystone State Reading Association, 2009-2010

Prairie Pasque Children’s Book Award (Nominee) ―South Dakota Library Association, SD Reading Council, SD State Library, SD Elementary School Principals, 2010-2011

Volunteer State Book Awards (Master List, Grades 4-6) ―Tennessee Association of School Librarians, 2010-2011


Resources: Teacher's Guide

Teacher’s Guide

More Details

AR Level: 3.7
F&P: GRL T, Gr 5, Genre RF
Lexile: 610L
Themes: Bullies, Endangered Species, Moving, Snakes, Toads
BISAC 1: JUV002120 JUVENILE FICTION/Animals/Frogs and Toads
BISAC 2: JUV129010 JUVENILE FICTION/Nature and the Natural World/Environment
BISAC 3: JUV039060 JUVENILE FICTION/Social Issues/Friendship