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Children's LiteratureThis unusual, ironic love story begins romantically, as a tadpole and a caterpillar fall in love. She is his "beautiful rainbow," as he is her "shiny black pearl." "Promise me you'll never change," she says, and he promises. But the promise cannot be kept, for he grows legs, then arms. The caterpillar cries; he begs forgiveness. But he has broken his promise. The caterpillar moves away to a branch and cries herself to sleep. When she awakens she has wings. She decides to forgive her lost love. But as she approaches a frog he swallows her "in one great gulp." And he wonders where his beautiful rainbow has gone. At first the vertical opening of the book seems strange, but this way it clearly shows the action above the pool on the top of the page gutter and that in the pool below. The passage of time is clear in the seasonal changes of foliage and weather. Pen and ink and transparent watercolors in Ross's typical sketchy style are humorously appropriate for this fable. Do not miss the mini-dramas he adds at the bottom of the pond. 2005 (orig. 2003), An Anne Schwartz Book/Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, Ages 4 to 8.
—Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz