A sweet portrait of an interspecies friendship that survives major physical changes.
Having hatched side by side, tadpole and fish think they’re brothers—until the one develops a pair of legs, and the other acquires scales: “Gee whiz! I get to be a frog? / I’ll hop above and swim below!” / “But I’ll still be a fish. / Then how will we be bros?” It all turns out to be a nonissue, though, because rather than paddling off to meet others of their respective kinds, the two remain best buds. In the illustrations, simple, painted and combed cut-paper pond denizens, cardboard items and (for eggs) buttons have been laid over crumpled or otherwise textured backgrounds. Tapping triggers emphatic sound effects, as well as prompting the figures to twitch energetically, drift, spin or create clouds of paper-dot bubbles. Selecting the optional audio narration also highlights each word of the rhymed verses in succession. A monotonous, dispensable sung rendition of the entire text comes attached.
A low-key alternative to Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross’ Tadpole’s Promise (2005) and other more true-to-nature takes on the theme. (Requires iOS 7 and above.) (iPad storybook app. 5-7)