Lonely after being displaced by his family’s move from Tucson, Arizona to Edenboro, Massachusetts, Ben Moroney misses the desert ecosystem, his best friend Tony, and his pet lizard Lenny. Desperate for the connections he had in his old home, the fifth grader begins walking through the woods near his house and spending time with his science teacher, Mrs. Tibbets, who teaches him about the habitat and critters that live right beneath their feet. Reeling from the death of her husband, Mrs. Tibbets is also looking for a place to fit in since her teaching methods conflict with the principal’s philosophy, and she and her sister-in-law are at odds about her husband’s wishes for the land he left behind. Ben is drawn especially to the plight of spadefoot toads, who have but one night a year to mate in a vernal pool that exists only briefly, before disappearing back into their natural homes. But even with his reawakened connection to the natural world, Ben faces several challenges: a school bully and the threat of development of the spadefoot toads’ homes, intended to be bulldozed and filled in. Readers will be inspired by Ben’s fight for the green spaces he has come to love while creating a new home, and they may be interested in the list of resources for lovers of toads and vernal pools found in the author’s note. Ben also has several secrets about the rattlesnakes he accidentally released.
Author(s): Bill Harley
A two-time Grammy winner, he is vibrant, outrageous, unpredictable and genuine with songs and stories about growing up, schooling and what it is to be human—our connections with one another and with the planet we share.
Best known for his work with children and families, his ability to navigate through a confusing world with humor and wisdom is evident in his masterful storytelling, singing, recordings and books (Source).