Wednesday, June 24, 2009


ON one of our weekend jaunts to a little-used river beach, we noticed tadpoles milling around in the shallows of a feeder stream. On an impulse, we decided to take some home to watch them develop. I later regretted this, thinking we were dooming the poor creatures to an early demise. But caught up in the moment, we improvised with available equipment and had great fun trying to catch some of the wiggly little swimmers. At home we set to work creating a home for our new friends. (The adventure of collecting additional streamwater from a nearby creek is a story for another day.) Apparently tadpoles like to eat lettuce, so that is what we've been feeding them for over two weeks, and to my surprise and delight, they are still alive and seem to be a little bigger, though no sign of legs yet.

While researching books on the topic of tadpoles and frogs, I came across the 19th century author Katharine Pyle and her collection of stories and verses: Prose and Verse for Children. It includes a lovely story about a tadpole who wants to sing, called More Ways Than One. With the help of a lizard the tadpole tries all kinds of things to become a bird so that he can sing, until finally the wise old crawfish tells him he is a frog and he hops off to join the chorus. After all, there's more than one way to sing.

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