Booklist (March 1, 2013 (Vol. 109, No. 13))
Preschool-Grade 2. It’s pretty darn difficult to find a more charming book than 999 Tadpoles (2011). Kimura kindly updates us on the oversize family’s status, beginning with the little frogs poking their heads out of the dirt to awaken on a lovely morning. Mother Frog’s head count, though, only reaches 998. Who is missing? Ah, it’s their big brother, who is not only literally big but also leads the charge to rouse other slumbering animals from beneath rocks and leaves so that they too might enjoy the blossoming spring. A turtle, a lizard, some ladybugs—all are thankful for the wake-up call. And then there’s the hole. Better wake up whoever is in there too, eh? Bad idea: a snake, rather like the one in 999 Tadpoles, awaits to give the family more grief. Murakami’s big-eyed, kelly-green amphibians, set against large white backdrops, are just as cute now as they were as newborns, and their heedless groupthink as they race around being gee-whiz about everything remains downright adorable.