Tadpole Rex

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Overview

Rex is a tiny tadpole who can't wait to grow up and be big like everybody else. Unfortunately for Rex, he lives in a prehistoric swamp . . . and everybody else is a gigantic dinosaur.
           
With a little time—and a lot of patience—Rex does grow, gaining arms and legs and, most importantly, a personality big ...

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Overview

Rex is a tiny tadpole who can't wait to grow up and be big like everybody else. Unfortunately for Rex, he lives in a prehistoric swamp . . . and everybody else is a gigantic dinosaur.
           
With a little time—and a lot of patience—Rex does grow, gaining arms and legs and, most importantly, a personality big enough to take on even the mightiest of his neighbors.
            
Includes a note from the author about metamorphosis, prehistoric frogs, and the environmental challenges frogs face today.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
"The rhyming text is image-rich, informational, and fun to read aloud. . . . Cyrus''s oversize artwork conveys information spectacularly, beginning with a dramatic wrap-around cover and continuing with interesting perspectives of dinosaurs and the prehistoric environment. Created in scratchboard and then colored digitally, the illustrations are luminous and striking. . . . This is an exciting blend of science and literature that children will appreciate."
--School Library Journal, starred review, June 2008
Children's Literature
AGERANGE: Ages 4 to 8.

Cyrus uses evocative, well-chosen words in deftly rhymed couplets to tell the tale of a tiny tadpole in a long-ago swamp filled with huge dinosaurs. Rex may be small, but inside he is "fearless, with fire in his blood--" despite hiding in the mud as he grows. With a "Floop!" and a "Fleep!" he grows arms and legs. His "Ribbet!" startles the other dinosaurs. But then Rex wisely hunkers down, "his inner tyrannosaur corked within." Now all the dinosaurs are gone, but "hoppers and croakers are here to stay." And deep inside, "they all have an inner tyrannosaur." Cyrus's use of scratchboard produces strong, black outlined images, particularly of the hunting dinosaurs and the jungle environment. Some of the close-ups are a bit frightening. The colors of scales and of Rex's watery world are effectively created digitally, resulting in shimmering effects, murky pools, and in the end the contemporary colony of frogs. That scene is followed by an imaginative close-up of a frog's red eye with a curled up dinosaur inside, symbolizing the evolutionary connection. A note fills in the past of frogs from dinosaur days and adds the current risks to their survival. Humor enriches this serious story. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz

School Library Journal

K-Gr 3- In a primordial swamp, "One little polliwog swirled in the soup,/bouncing off bubbles-/Bloop./Bloop./Bloop." From that point, the author follows the development of one intrepid tadpole: "somewhere inside him deep in his core,/there slumbered an inner tyrannosaur." The rhyming text is image-rich, informational, and fun to read aloud: "Gone are the dinosaurs. Gone are the stompers,/the rippers, the roarers, the bone-crunching chompers./Gone are the dinosaurs, swept away..../But hoppers and croakers are here to stay." Cyrus's oversize artwork conveys information spectacularly, beginning with a dramatic wrap-around cover and continuing with interesting perspectives of dinosaurs and the prehistoric environment. Created in scratchboard and then colored digitally, the illustrations are luminous and striking. In "A Note from the Author," Cyrus gives additional background about frog fossils, their evolutionary development, and the impact of climate change on their survival. This is an exciting blend of science and literature that children will appreciate.-Lee Bock, Glenbrook Elementary School, Pulaski, WI

Kirkus Reviews
A tiny frog unleashes his inner tyrannosaur when his diet changes from plants to prey. In prehistoric times, a timid polliwog lies in the mud at the bottom of his puddle, hiding from predators. The rhyming text, fruity with primeval "bloops" and "floops," follows his growth as he becomes a frog. And then he hides no more. In touch with his inner predator, he ribbets for all to hear, attracting the attention of the large dinosaurs: "Bouncing about with the boldest of hops, / Rex nearly tripped a triceratops." Having taken his stand, he then quietly returns to skulk in his puddle, only his eyes visible above the surface. The swampy greens and hard edges of the digitally colored scratchboard artwork suit the prehistoric period and rough scales of the dinosaurs perfectly, while the varying scale of the illustrations will keep readers on their toes-Cyrus is a master of the extreme close-up. Readers will thrill to the action and suspense while teachers will appreciate the subtle lesson on the life cycle of frogs. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-7)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780152059903
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 6/1/2008
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 629,372
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 12.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

KURT CYRUS is the illustrator of M. T. Anderson's Whales on Stilts, and The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen. He lives in Cottage Grove, Oregon.

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