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Tadpole's Promise

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  571 Ratings  ·  198 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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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenEnder's Game by Orson Scott Card1984 by George OrwellBreaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Best Ending
181st out of 1,147 books — 1,844 voters
Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne WillisDorothea Duck and Her Little Companion by Jennifer K. LaffertyLittle Moon Dog by Helen WardFirebird by DemiDreamcatcher by Ann Curtin
Soulful Children's Books
1st out of 15 books — 5 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 862)
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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 re ...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 gro ...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.
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
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
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.
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
Twinnies love this book, slightly sadistic sides definitely showing! Took great delight in telling me what happens to the tadpole and caterpillar.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 a ...more
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
Kelly Sue
Jun 19, 2015 Kelly Sue rated it it was amazing
Willis, Jeanne. Tadpole’s Promise. Illus. Tony Ross. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. Print. – This book follows the relationship of a tadpole and a caterpillar who fell in love before they had any idea they would both being turning into different creatures. The caterpillar tells the tadpole to “Promise that [he’ll] never change.” And he does. But his body changes, and each time they meet, the caterpillar sees that he’s “broken the promise” and asks him to again promise not to change, and h ...more
"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 wi ...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
Taye Adegbite
Jun 28, 2014 Taye Adegbite rated it it was amazing
Tadpole’s promise
This is a story about a black shiny Tadpole and a Caterpillar who meets and fall in love with each other. They love their looks and the caterpillar ask the tadpole to make a promise to her that he will never change which he foolishly accept. As the day flies by, Tadpole is unable to keep to his promise as a result of the changes so this leads to the pair breaking up. Looking more like a frog now, he sits and wonders where her beautiful friend is. The butterfly approaches to ask
Rhian Niblett
May 06, 2014 Rhian Niblett rated it it was amazing
I first heard about Tadpole's Promise at the Reading for Pleasure day at UEL. The book is seemingly a romance book about a tadpole and a caterpiller that fall in love. However, in this book, the romance element is turned on its head. The caterpillar asks the tadpole to never change and gets annoyed when he does. As an adult, I found the book to be very humourous,as I knowing the life cycle of a tadpole and a caterpiller, it is impossible for them to never change. The ending is also extremely sur ...more
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 crie ...more
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.
Feb 13, 2008 Catherine rated it it was amazing
This book is a riot! Kids just aren't going to "get it" and that's OK, but there are some wonderful life/love lessons here that they'll recognize later on ... Love is sweet ... Love transcends challenges ... We are going to change and we just can't help it ... Lovers can be selfish ... Love forgives ... Unrequited love happens ... It's hard to pass up a good lunch ...
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 !
May 29, 2014 Greg rated it liked it
Tadpole's Promise is a picture book written by Jeanne Willis, and illustrated by Tony Ross. The story focuses on the love between a tadpole and a caterpillar and how the changes they both go through affect their relationship. This leads to a surprising and fantastic ending which I will not reveal as, to do so, would undermine the enjoyment of the story which builds up to this ending. Although this story can be enjoyed by young children (4-8 years old) some of them, for reasons which will come cl ...more
Feb 25, 2014 Heidi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
So, story to me reading this book. I was pulling some books on animals that live in the water/air for a patron to read to a group of preschoolers when I spotted this one. I thought it would be a book that showed the life cycle of a frog so I flipped though it. I discovered that it was about a tadpole and a caterpillar who fall in love. It combined the both of the patrons requests, perfect! I kept reading through curious to see how it ended. The caterpillar is upset when the tadpole starts to cha ...more
Sep 09, 2014 Ray rated it really liked it
Tadpole's promise, is a good presentation to the subject of love across a divide. We are introduced to two characters from the outset, and their attraction to one another. Will it work? Who knows. It's a chance for children to go on a journey of discovery and question whether the two characters will be able to see things through.

In my opinion, this book gives children the great chance to ask questions of themselves, adults and the world around them. It will appeal to younger children in Years 2
Nayhara Sepulcri
May 31, 2014 Nayhara Sepulcri rated it it was amazing
A tadpole meets a caterpillar and they fall in love. She was his beautiful rainbow and the caterpillar loves everything about her shiny black pearl. "Promise that you will never change," she says. But as sure as the seasons pass, the tadpole could not keep his promise - his legs grow, and then his arms. And what happens to his beautiful rainbow? As he sits on a lily pad, digesting a butterfly, the changed tadpole little realises that now he will never know!

The strange romance between a caterpill
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.... :)
Stephanie Croaning
Dec 02, 2015 Stephanie Croaning rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books, 2015
This is one of those fated love stories, a little like Romeo and Juliet. Tadpole and Caterpillar meet and fall in love. They love everything about each other and promise never to change...which is where the story is doomed from the start.

This would make a great read-aloud to accompany a science lesson on metamorphosis. Even though it doesn't have a fairy tale ending, I think kids will get a kick out of the tongue-in-cheek humor and surprise ending.

Fans of Jon Klassen's I Want My Hat Back, This i
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UEL Primary PGCE ...: Tadpole's Promise by Jeanne Willis 1 2 May 02, 2016 08:47AM  
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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, includ ...more
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