The Case of the Vanishing Golden Frogs

A Scientific Mystery

From the Series Sandra Markle's Science Discoveries

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 6
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

Panamanian golden frogs aren’t just cute, little, and yellow. They’re also the national symbol of Panama. But they started to disappear about fifteen years ago. What’s killing them? Could it be a change in their habitat? What about pollution? Might it be a result of climate change? Follow a team of scientists working to save these frogs and protect frog populations worldwide in this real-life science mystery.

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Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 6
Reading Level Grade 5
Genre Science
Category 5 Kinds of Nonfiction, 5KN: Narrative Nonfiction, Animals, STEM, STEM: Life Science/Animals
Copyright 2012
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 48
Publication Date 2011-08-01
Reading Counts! Level 6.3
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF003190, JNF037020, JNF003220
Dewey 597.8'7
Graphics Full-color illustrations
Dimensions 9.75 x 9.75
Lexile 910
Guided Reading Level U
ATOS Reading Level 5.7
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 145221
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Author/Illustrator note, Awards, Bibliography/further reading, Charts/Graphs/Diagrams, Glossary, Index, Reviewed, Starred Reviews, Table of contents, Teaching Guides, and eSource

Author: Sandra Markle

Sandra Markle is the author of numerous award-winning books for children. A former elementary science teacher, she is a nationally-known science education consultant. Markle has received many honors for her series Animal Predators, Animal Scavengers, and Animal Prey. Several titles have been named as National Science Teachers Association (NSTA)/Children’s Book Council (CBC) Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12, and Animal Predators was honored as a Top 10 Youth Nonfiction Series by Booklist. Markle is also the author of the Insect World series and several single titles. Her book Rescues! was named a Best Book by the Society of School Librarians International and a Recommended Title of Outstanding Nonfiction by the National Council of Teachers of English’s (NCTE) Orbis Pictus Award committee; Animal Heroes was named a 2008 Lasting Connections title by Book Links. Markle lives in Lakewood Ranch, Florida with her husband, photographer Skip Jeffery.

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Sandra Markle's Science Discoveries

Join award-winning science author Sandra Markle as she sheds light on some of the most fascinating scientific investigations in the animal kingdom. Solve real-life science mysteries alongside the teams of scientists dedicated to saving vanishing species or discovering new ones. And see… View available downloads →


  • Orbis Pictus Award Recommended Book, Commended, 2013
  • Cybils Finalist, Nominated, 2012
  • VOYA Nonfiction Honor List, Winner, 2012
  • Book Links Lasting Connection, Winner, 2012
  • Science Books & Films Best Books, Winner, 2012
  • Booklist Top 10 Books on the Environment for Youth, Winner, 2012
  • AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books, Winner, 2011
  • Booklist Top 10 Science and Health Books for Youth, Winner, 2011


Library Media Connection

“An obvious fit for science classes, this book would also fit nicely into environmental studies, geography, animal study, and the research process. It is an engaging model of the scientific method that is sure to intrigue all young researchers.” —Library Media Connection

Book Links

“Illustrated with excellent photos and microscopic views, this profile of a ‘science detective’ underscores the vital importance of curiosity, inquiry, and shared communication in scientific work.” —Book Links

Book Links

“Notable for its clear, direct text and design, this volume recounts biologist Karen Lips’ 1996 visit to a mountain forest in Panama, where she discovered that the Panamanian golden frogs she had studied four years earlier had all died. Lips’ research led to worldwide scientific inquiry and the founding of Project Golden Frog, a program to keep the frogs healthy. Illustrated with excellent photos and microscopic views, this profile of a ‘science detective’ underscores the vital importance of curiosity, inquiry, and shared communication in scientific work.” —Book Links

School Library Journal

“This eye-catching, well-written book provides a window into the efforts of a coalition of scientists, wildlife groups, and zoos to decode the mysterious die-off of the Panamanian golden frog, which began in the mid 1990s.” —School Library Journal

Science Books & Films

“This book is a great introduction to the issues of declining amphibians and worldwide loss of biodiversity, but its strength lies in its portrayal of the scientists and their use of the scientific process to solve a scientific mystery.” —Science Books & Films


“Notable for clarity, directness, and simplicity of writing and design alike, this volume, both handsome and fascinating, begins with the hunt for the frogs’ killer and ends with the urgent need to create a safe environment for their return to the wild.” —Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“A sobering glimpse at science in progress.” —Kirkus Reviews