Tadpole's Promise

( 1 )

Overview

A zany, unpredictable picture book from this best-selling and hilarious author/illustrator couple.

Tadpole loves his rainbow friend, the caterpillar, and she tells him she loves everything about him.

“Promise that you will never change,” she says.

But as the seasons pass and he matures, his legs grow, and then his arms – and what happens to his beautiful rainbow friend? As he sits on his lily pad, digesting ...

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Overview

A zany, unpredictable picture book from this best-selling and hilarious author/illustrator couple.

Tadpole loves his rainbow friend, the caterpillar, and she tells him she loves everything about him.

“Promise that you will never change,” she says.

But as the seasons pass and he matures, his legs grow, and then his arms – and what happens to his beautiful rainbow friend? As he sits on his lily pad, digesting the butterfly he has just eaten, he little realizes that now he will never know!

Follow the only-to-be-expected changes of a tadpole and a caterpillar to their natural conclusion – and see the end to a beautiful friendship.

Where the willow meets the water, a tadpole met a caterpillar. They gazed into each other's tiny eyes and fell in love.'Promise me that you will never change', the caterpillar says. And foolishly, the tadpole promises. But as the seasons pass and he matures, his legs grow, and then his arms - and what happens to his beautiful rainbow friend? As he sits on his lily pad, digesting the butterfly he has just eaten, he little realises that now he will never know!

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“It’s terrific.”
—Posy Simmonds

“The dramatic energy of the simple but lyrical text, and particularly of Ross’s witty and beautiful illustrations, makes this unforgettable.”
Guardian

“Breaks the mould in form as well as content.”
Sunday Times

Children's Literature
This 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
School Library Journal
K-Gr 4-Beginning with pages that open vertically instead of horizontally, this tongue-in-cheek tale takes a typical love story and sets it squarely-and amusingly-on end. Ross's vibrantly hued pen-and-ink and watercolor cartoons depict the edge of a pond where a caterpillar and a tadpole meet and fall in love: "She was his beautiful rainbow, and he was her shiny black pearl." Perched on a leaf above the water, she smiles down at her sweetheart and asks him to "Promise you'll never change." Although he agrees, some vows are difficult to keep, and when they next meet, he has sprouted two legs. She forgives him, but after he breaks his promise twice more and now looks more like a frog than her "shiny black pearl," the lovelorn larva ends the affair and cries herself to sleep (sequestered in a cocoon). Meanwhile, the melancholy frog sulks around the pond, making heart-shaped air bubbles that rise to the surface and burst. When the caterpillar awakens, now a butterfly, she decides to forgive her beloved and flies above the water to find him. Without a thought, the frog swallows her whole, and then returns to wondering about whatever happened to his "beautiful rainbow." Willis strikes the perfect balance between the deadpan telling and the humorously overblown dialogue shared by the star-crossed pair, while the artwork masterfully enhances each and every nuance. Enjoy this funny story on its own merits or try using it to lighten up a science lesson.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this deceptively innocuous love story, a caterpillar and a polliwog pledge their love, promising each other that they will never change. Fat chance, obviously: Each time they reunite, polliwog has grown new limbs. When he loses his tail, the caterpillar declares her heart is broken and huffs off to nurse her sorrows in a cocoon. Ross illustrates this economically told tale with equally sketchy watercolors, creating a serene natural setting, but turning it sideways so that the gutter becomes the boundary between land and water, and keeping background detail to a minimum to maintain visual focus on the rainbow-hued caterpillar and her "shiny black pearl." In the end, she emerges rather different in form herself, but when she repentantly flutters down to a certain frog at the water's edge, the romance comes to an abrupt and fatal end. The setup being perfect enough to leave even adult readers unsettled, this makes a promising addition to the "share if you dare" list, next to, say, Chris Raschka's Arlene Sardine (1998). (Picture book. 6-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781842704264
  • Publisher: Andersen Press, Limited
  • Publication date: 5/2/2005
  • Edition description: New
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 383,358
  • Age range: 3 - 5 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 0.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeanne Willis is a best-loved authors of children's books, and also writes for television and video companies. Tony Ross is one of the top UK children's illustrators. His books are published all over the world.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2008

    REAL SCIENCE AT BEDTIME,...HILARIOUS!

    As a father of two little boys and a science teacher i'm always curious to see how science and bedtime books connect,..From the first page, the ending of this one does not appear to be the run of the mill happy ending,..It does not disappoint,...

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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