Two books so diverse in purpose, style and treatment it is difficult to imagine. Both are about amphibians, but whereas M. Rostand's book deals essentially with only a single animal, the common European toad, Prof, and Mrs. Wright are concerned with no fewer than 86 different species; the former is best read in slippered ease, but the other is designed essentially for the field naturalist who needs to identify the creatures he is observing. “Toads and Toad Life” gives a full account of the animal in relation to its environment; every phase of its normal life cycle is considered and its reactions are analysed and compared with those of other amphibians. But although there is much of scientific interest in the book, the manner of its presentation is unusual. It combines an astonishing naivete with more than a touch of pedantry; at one moment the author is telling us that (p. 29) “The Toad is a good jumper, particularly when young. It can easily jump 6 inches (15 centimetres). It can walk quickly. Often it stops itself suddenly by using its back legs as a brake”; and at another (p. 38) “Bufotalin is a cardiac poison, very similar in its effects to digitalis.
(1) Toads and Toad Life.
By Jean Rostand. Translated from the French by Joan Fletcher. Pp. xii + 192 + 8 plates. (London: Methuen and Co., Ltd., 1934.) 7s. 6d. net.
(2) Handbook of Frogs and Toads: the Frogs and Toads of the United States and Canada.
By Anna Allen Wright Prof. A. H. Wright. (Handbooks of American Natural History, Vol. 1.) Pp. xi + 231. (Ithaca, N.Y.: The Comstock Publishing Co., Ltd., 1933.) 2.50 dollars.
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(1) Toads and Toad Life (2) Handbook of Frogs and Toads: the Frogs and Toads of the United States and Canada . Nature 134, 123 (1934). https://doi.org/10.1038/134123a0