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Tadpole's Promise

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  585 Ratings  ·  199 Reviews
Where the willow tree meets the water, a tadpole met a caterpillar.

They gazed into each other's tiny eyes...and fell in love.

"I love everything about you," said the caterpillar.

"Promise you'll never change." And foolishly the tadpole promised...

But we all know that tadpoles don't stay the same, and neither do caterpillars.

Will they still be able to love each other?

Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 17th 2005 by Atheneum Books
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(showing 1-30)
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Jul 18, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it
I am a currently a LSA in a SEN school and this book was to read to six year five pupils. I have chosen this book to review due to the unexpected ending, which is unusual for the majority of children’s books of this type. The book was chosen as it covers the topic of change, the current curriculum topic theme. The story also has good cross curricular links to science with a life cycle theme and PSHE with issues such as separation anxiety and death. This book in my opinion is also an excellent ...more
Dec 14, 2010 Kayla rated it it was amazing
Not for the faint-at-heart adult, but great for every child with a sadistic side (and what child doesn't have a hidden or not-so-hidden sadistic side), including every first-grade boy in the world. I read with a high, squeaky voice for the caterpillar and a low, stopped-up-nose voice for the tadpole. Read around Valentine's Day, if possible...introduce by asking who likes mushy love stories, then tell them that this isn't one. Great when paired with a lesson on life cycles. Read aloud to the ...more
Big Book Little Book
Mar 13, 2012 Big Book Little Book rated it it was amazing

A rainbow and a pearl fell in love. The rainbow requested her beloved pearl, to promise to never change. Unfortunately Pearl was destined to break his promise, as he was a tadpole and his love Rainbow, a caterpillar.

Obviously not a fan of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 (“...Love is not love which alters when it alteration finds...” ) Rainbow becomes increasingly distressed and peeved at the physical changes she observes in her beau each time they meet. Pear
Becca Edwards
Feb 07, 2016 Becca Edwards rated it really liked it
When I first read this book a year or so ago, I found the ending particularly shocking and a little bit horrible (although I may have had a little giggle!).
However, this book highlights that not all story's end 'happily ever after', and really, that's just how real life is!

I was lucky enough to see a whole term of work across the curriculum based around this book when I returned to my SBT2 school for the summer term (it's a storytelling school). I found it really interesting to see how this book
Hannah Liddle
This book has great science links as it describes the life cycles of a frog and a butterfly.

I love that this book has a surprise ending - it shows children that stories do not always have to end 'happily ever after'! The author uses repetition of some phrases for emphasis which works so well.
Emily Hughes
Jul 25, 2013 Emily Hughes rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 07, 2011 Bianca rated it really liked it
I liked this book and although its not the best book for cross-curricular links I think it is an excellent resource for Science sessions. It could be used after a session of pond dippping at the farm, as it covers the topic of life cycle.

It is a story of a tadpole who falls in love with a caterpillar, they make a prommise to eachother that they will never change. Not long after making that promise, the tadpole begins to alter in appearance as he turns into a frog. The caterpillar becomes very di
Ciaran Mcnamee
Nov 04, 2012 Ciaran Mcnamee rated it really liked it
Shelves: pshe
This is the story of the friendship between a tadpole and a caterpillar. The caterpillar tells the tadpole that she loves him the way he is. He promises her that he will never change. However, throughout the book the tadpole is unable to keep his promise as he matures into a frog. The book has a tragi-comic ending in which the frog eats his friend, while waiting for her to return, because he fails to recognise that she has matured into a butterfly!

I enjoyed this book and think it would be great
Jan 09, 2012 Vong rated it it was amazing
A wonderful and unpredictable tale about the love between a tadpole and a caterpillar.
They both take a vowel to never change. But as time goes by nature takes its course and the tadpole matures into a ribbeting frog!
At the same time the butterfly matures too!
One day the frog is sitting on his lily pad and sees a scrumptious butterfly and he quickly gobbles it up....

The next day he sits and waits for his love.

what has he done?
Read the book to find out!

I absolutely enjoyed this book. Its got humo
Dec 13, 2008 Travis rated it it was amazing
I went to a workshop on books boys will want to read. This is one of the many titles that the presenter turned me on to.

The book is very simple. The format is great, the pictures are fun, but the story is the real selling point. The story progresses between a tadpole and caterpillar that have fallen in love. But as the tadpole begins to change, the butterfly doubts that he is seriously in love. The end of the book is hilarious and totally caught me off guard.

I have read this to my fifth grader
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Katie Cooper
Nov 06, 2011 Katie Cooper rated it it was amazing
This is the best picture book EVER. I found this sometime in college when I was student teaching and I read it to my high school senior students. They were baffled, saddened and confused. Eighteen year old boys said, "That's messed up." Ever since then I've read it to all the classes I taught. I've read it to my boyfriend, roommates, and several coworkers. I need to carry a copy of it with me in my car, because you never know when you'll find a chance to read it to someone. SO GOOD.
Tasneem  Zafer
Mar 25, 2015 Tasneem Zafer rated it really liked it
We had this book discussed in one of the philosophy thinking sessions. Analyzing it was pretty interesting but i think it's a bit too abstract or complex for children younger than 4th grade!
The ending was so mean in a SHOCKING way to absolutely everyone.. Soooo unexpected!

I loved the illustrations, they're very simple and the colors are beautifully childish !
Brenda Kahn
Dec 01, 2011 Brenda Kahn rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-book
I recently rediscovered this gem when I was browsing books at the amazing public library across the street from my school.
Oct 22, 2011 Amanda rated it it was amazing
This book is hilarious! I've got a little twist to my sense of humor though. Not sure I'd read it to my kids.... :)
Twinnies love this book, slightly sadistic sides definitely showing! Took great delight in telling me what happens to the tadpole and caterpillar.
May 28, 2009 Jana rated it it was amazing
I think that this is my favorite picture book to read aloud! Hysterical!
Nov 13, 2014 Mary rated it it was amazing
A shocking ending.
Jasmine Olivia
Dec 20, 2012 Jasmine Olivia rated it really liked it
I read this book to Jasmine and it was quite tragic! #smh
Nov 15, 2016 Beth rated it it was amazing
We were crying in the staff meeting today - 5*

So, so funny! We were genuinely upset and then definitely couldn't stop laughing.
It'd be great for P4C and science too :')
"The award-winning, unpredictable picture book from this best-selling author/artist team is now available for the first time in paperback. 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 a butterfly, Tadpole little realizes that now he ...more
Laurie Dole
Jul 14, 2013 Laurie Dole rated it really liked it
Shelves: lib-678
I am pairing Tadpole’s Promise with Yummy. This picture book sums up the lost opportunity and importance of choice I found in Yummy. The two characters, Tadpole and Yummy, are looking for happiness outside of themselves, leading to tragedy.

I would recommend this book as a companion piece for studying missed opportunity and character choices. I also think middle school readers would appreciate the irony of this predator/prey relationship.

Selection Criteria
This BCCB Blue Ribbon Pi
Kate Chazin
The tadpole loves the caterpillar, and calls her his beautiful rainbow. The caterpillar loves the tadpole, and calls him her perfect black pearl. And so begins an unlikely romance between two very different creatures. "I love everything about you," they tell one another. "Promise me you'll never change." Like a Shakespearean tragedy, we know from the first page that the odd couple is doomed. Tadpole repeatedly breaks his promise, as he sprouts arms, legs, and a tail. Heartbroken caterpillar ...more
Apr 25, 2015 Tara rated it really liked it
Tadpole’s Promise
I thoroughly enjoyed reading the Tadpole's Promise as the plot was funny and unpredictable. It is about a caterpillar and tadpole that fall in love which leads to the caterpillar asking the tadpole to promise to never change. Unfortunately unknown to them nature won’t allow that and the frog gradually changes physically every time they meet. The tadpole and caterpillar go through their individual life cycle phases allowing students to follow this step by step, with the help of e
Jun 22, 2015 Hannah added it
Tadpoles promise

Tadpoles promise is a story about a tadpole who lives in a pond and a caterpillar that lives on a branch over the pond. Each day the tadpole and caterpillar fall more and more in love with each other. Caterpillar makes tadpole promise that he’ll never change. However each time he comes back up to the surface, he has grown legs, then arms, then he loses his tale. This breaks caterpillar’s heart each time, and each time she forgives him. Caterpillar goes back up her branch and does
Ambreen Bilgrami
May 07, 2012 Ambreen Bilgrami rated it it was amazing
The tadpoles promise follows a caterpillar and a tadpole who fall in love. They both make a promise to each other to never change. However, “just as the wind changes” the tadpole unavoidably transforms into a frog. The caterpillar cannot believe her beloved tadpole has broken his promise and so eventually leaves him in sheer disappointment only to cry herself to sleep.
However, again just as the weather changes the caterpillar finds herself to have transformed into a butterfly. She eventually acc
Dec 06, 2012 Nicole rated it really liked it
I really liked this book until the end! I was expecting them to fall in love again in the new and changed forms but no Tadpole just eats Caterpillar right up! Other than the ending awesome book!


There is a tadpole and a caterpillar and they fall in love. The caterpillar tells the tadpole he must never change though. The next time they see each other the tadpole has grown legs. The caterpillar gets upset and tells him he must promise her again that he will never change. The next time they
Dorinda Davie
She was his beautiful rainbow and he was her shiny black pearl, and so the love story goes between a caterpillar and a tadpole in this mold breaking picture book of love, change, and loss. Jeanne Willis does a fabulous job in this wonderfully, simply sketched, colored picture book. I like the way this paperback version is printed, turning the book vertically to read the story elongating the picture with the air featured on top and the water featured on the bottom. The characters, a caterpillar ...more
Hayley Laporte
This book is about a caterpillar and a tadpole falling in love. The caterpillar asks the tadpole to never change and the tadpole promises not to. Obviously the tadpole can't keep that promise and their relationship is set up for failure. The tadpole eventually becomes a frog and the caterpillar disappears for awhile. The book then takes a drastic turn and ends in a way that will leave you very surprised and sad. It is also quite humerus.
Right off the bat this book is unique because it's not set
Nicki Hambilton
May 02, 2016 Nicki Hambilton rated it it was amazing
Tadpole’s Promise tells of a love story (albeit, with a not so happy ending!) between a tadpole and a caterpillar. Also known as ‘little black pearl’ and ‘rainbow’ to one another. The little black pearl, promises to his rainbow that he’ll never change; a promise which he doesn’t realise he is unable to keep! The tadpole and caterpillar continue to meet each other and each time the tadpole is a little bit different, whether it’s because he has suddenly sprouted legs or because his tail has ...more
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UEL Primary PGCE ...: Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis 1 2 May 02, 2016 05:47PM  
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Jeanne Willis was born in St Albans and trained as an advertising copywriter at Watford College. She worked for various agencies creating press adverts and TV, cinema and radio commercials. She is now a full-time writer and has published over 80 books. Her hobbies include gardening, reading (non-fiction), natural history and collecting caterpillars. Jeanne has also worked on scripts for TV, ...more
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