Having outgrown their pond, a frog family moves out, crossing a field where they meet a scary snake and then a hungry hawk that unwittingly flies them to a perfect home.
Opening with an image of proud parents admiring their numerous tadpoles in a circular pond, the next spread shows the grown froglets, crowding each other beyond the pond’s borders. Mother says, “We’ll have to move,” so off they go, following their father in a long, long line. Kimura captures the impatience of children on a trip ("When will we get there?"). Murakami, an illustrator well-known in Japan, uses just enough detail in his expressive images to make his simple, suggestive shapes and crayon line meaningful. With their extensive white space, these illustrations will show well to a group. When the hawk captures father and the rest of the family holds on, the landscape tilts and the line of young frogs is reduced to a chain of dots, emphasizing the height and distance of their flight. Their splash into a new, large pond is immensely satisfying. (First published in Japan in 2003, this tale may be confused with a book/CD kit that has the same English title but a different narrative arc, published in Australia but also available here.)
This well-paced journey, with just enough tension to keep young listeners engaged, will be a solid storytime choice. (Picture book. 3-7)