Friday, March 30, 2012

999 Tadpoles

Booklist starred (July 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 21))

Preschool-Grade 3. Though justifiably proud of their 999 offspring, Mother and Father Frog know that it’s time to find a bigger pond. They are all crossing a field when a hawk snatches Father and begins to fly away. Quickly, Mother grabs Father’s leg, a young frog grabs hers, another grabs her, and so on until the predator is hauling a heavy chain of frogs. Unwilling to lose “a whole year’s supply,” the hawk holds on as long as he can, but eventually he lets go, and 1,001 frogs fall to their . . . new home in a big pond. Translated from the Japanese, this amusing picture book was given the same English title as a 2006 picture book with the same author, illustrator, and title but a different story and artwork. Even if you have the first book, you don’t want to miss this one. Written with a storyteller’s flair, the simple text finds just the right balance of drama and humor to make this tale of thwarted predation a real crowd-pleaser. The naive paintings suit the story well, and the cartoonlike exaggeration of the little frogs' features reassures viewers that, somehow, these upbeat little characters will come out on top. Highly recommended for reading aloud.

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