This book has it all... drama, humour and, thank goodness, a happy ending

Northern Advocate

999 Tadpoles Find a New Home


When nine hundred and ninety-nine tadpoles grow into little frogs, their pond becomes too cramped. A picture book with drama, tension and lots of humour.


  • Description

    When nine hundred and ninety-nine tadpoles grow into little frogs, their pond becomes too cramped.

    In spring, Mother Frog laid nine hundred and ninety-nine eggs in the little pond. One warm day, out hatched nine hundred and ninety-nine tadpoles. They were tiny, but full of beans. Mother and Father Frog were delighted. They told their babies, ‘Grow big. Grow strong.’

    The nine hundred and ninety-nine tadpoles grew and grew. All squeezed together in the pond, they croaked up quite a din:
    ‘Can’t move!’
    ‘Can’t breathe!’
    Mother and Father sighed. ‘It’s good they’ve grown but—’
    ‘—what shall we do?’
    Both said at the same time: ‘We’ll have to move.’

    But it’s a dangerous world out there…

  • Book Details

    Country of OriginJapan
    Reader Age2-5 year, 5-7 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. The School Librarian, UK, Autumn 2011

      A further delight from Gecko Press comes with 999 Tadpoles Find a New Home. All those tinies grow and need to disperse in a story ending with a croaky froggy chorus of ‘Read-it, read-it, read-it!’.

    2. NSW Association for Gifted & Talented Children

      When an eagle tries to scoop Father Frog out of the very small pond shared by Mrs Frog and the family of 999 froglets, something unexpected happens. The eagle finds that Mr Frog is unusually heavy – probably something to do with the fact that the whole family have leapt to the rescue. In a wonderfully quirky, humorous story, the frog family find that what could have been a disaster turns out to be a blessing as the eagle unintentionally moves them from their overcrowded small pond to one large enough to house the entire family. Murakami’s simple, naive illustrations have a comical element that echoes the whimsical nature of the story. Young children will laugh out loud at the idea of a string of froglets hitching a ride with an eagle. Delightful.

    3. National Library, Create Readers Blog, February 2011

      When all of Mother Frog’s eggs hatch into healthy offspring, the family has a problem. `Can’t move! Can’t breathe!’ complain the rapidly-growing tadpoles, and,punctuated by 999 little voices asking `Are we there yet?,’the epic journey in search of bigger premises begins. Translated from Japanese, this delightful Gecko Press publication is a real treasure for read-aloud level and beyond. It has similar qualities to Hannah Giffard’s 1992 classic Red Fox on the move (now unfortunately out of print, although copies are still held by the National Library).

    4. The School Librarian (UK), Winter 2010

      I loved this crazy tale. The title alone forewarns you that something rather different is afoot but as the tale (tail?) progresses and the improbability of the situation increases it becomes more and more fun. To their great delight, Mother and Father Frog produce 999 tadpoles – offspring of whom they are justly proud. They tell their babies, ‘Grow big. Grow strong,’ and they do. But, as a result of all the growing, 999 froglets completely fill the home pond. The family must move. Can you imagine what it is like to move with 999 excited little frogs? The journey is fraught with dangers but, by staying close (really, really close) to each other, the family survives. However, towards the end, they are all caught up in the scariest danger yet. Will the family stay alive long enough to find a new home?

      This is a picture book to appeal to all young children but also one which will require adult readers to look beyond the surface text. Both the meanings and the humour are subtle. The art work is magnificent – unsurprisingly, as it is the work of Yasunari Murakami, a celebrated Japanese illustrator. However, there is so much to appreciate in this book apart from its skilfully written text and captivating images. If you are looking for educational elements, there are many. I was tempted, for example, to count every tadpole. I’m sure this was not just an incidental whim on my part as it was just one of the many ‘learning’ opportunities that drew me into this absorbing story. Get it for the primary library and share it, talk about it but, most of all, delight in it.

    5. S magazine, Sunday Express (Australia), November 2010

      This year’s hit in our house – both with the eight year old and the three year old – has been 999 Tadpoles… It’s the story of a froggy family who outgrow their pond and search for a new home in an epic adventure.

    6. Northern Advocate, August 2010

      This book has it all… drama, humour and, thank goodness, a happy ending (…) A great book to read aloud and definitely one parents will relate to… it’s like the frog version of children going on a car journey: ‘Are we there yet?’ Cute words, cute illustrations, cute book.

    7. Taranaki Daily News, August 2010

      This was presumably translated from Japanese, but you wouldn’t pick it in this all-round delightful tale of Mother and Father Frog and their vast spawn of 999 babies outgrowing their pond and needing to relocate. There is no Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest here, but the tadpoles behave delightfully and plausibly like restless young children. This charming story has equally charming illustrations and will provide an all-round satisfying reading experience for three year olds up to about seven year olds.

    8. Magpies magazine, September 2010

      The language is simple, with a sly humour that matches the stylised starry-eyed little frogs that flip-flop and caterpult across the generous white pages forming wondrous green and yellow toned patterns to be explored by young eyes. This is a graceful yet commanding production in which text and complementary illustration are designed to hold a small child’s attention, at the same time extending their knowledge of the world of nature and – to the discerning – human nature. This English language edition is an extremely skilful translation with humour that is never strained and with a euphonious linguistic structure ending with nine hundred and ninety-nine happy frogs chirping, Read-it, read-it, read-it… The perfect ending to an endearing little lap-story for parents to share with their own small offspring.

    9. Otago Daily Times, July 2010

      This is a charming story with an exciting twist. I was pleased to see this story contains more than just the usual numbers of one to five, or one to 10, as this opens up a new area of numeracy for discussion. I thought the cute pictures were quite simplistic but the children I read the story to were really taken by them.

    10. Australian Womens Weekly NZ, August 2010

      This beautifully illustrated book follows the adventures of 999 tadpoles looking for a new home. This proves to be dangerous as emerging from their pond exposes them to danger and they must learn to look out for one another.

    11. Around the Bookshops, August 2010

      This is a lot of fun to read aloud.

    12. Canvas magazine, NZ Herald, August 2010

      … Mother and father frog make the perilous shift from a pond that has become too small for them and their brood of demanding froglets. A snake and a hawk stand between them and the Promised Land – or should that be waters – in this playful tale full of amusing asides. The simple but bold and expressive illustrations … make this a compelling package.

    13. Newbury Weekly News UK, August 2010

      MOST parents would say that
      just one child is not that easy to look
      after. Imagine having 999 like Mrs
      Frog in Ken Kimura’s 999 Tadpoles
      Find a New Home.
      When the pond gets crowded (well it
      would) the family decide they
      must upsize, but there
      are many dangers
      on the journey when you
      have that number of
      babies trailing after you,
      including snakes and a
      very hungry hawk who
      swoops down and grabs
      Father Frog.
      But Mum Frog and her
      999 babies cling on to him and, in the
      end, it is the hawk who unwittingly
      finds them a new home.
      The hundreds of froggy babies are
      dotted all over the pages in the fun
      illustrations by Yasunari Murakami.
      This is a book to make the tinies
      smile – and good for counting too.

    14. Little Treasures, August 2010

      Follow the frog family, in this translation from Japanese, on their perilous search for a new home when they outgrow their pond. The delightful illustrations perfectly match the quirky humour of the text, as the amphibians react to the dangers they face in very human ways.

    15. Education Today, June 2010

      Room Two kids at Oakura School think this is the best book they have read this year.

      ‘I liked it when the frogs had to get out of the pond’ (Lily) ‘It was funny when the babies all followed the dad frog’ (Harry) ‘We laughed when the baby frogs found the snake’ (Isaac) ‘It was so scary when the hawk took them up in the sky but then it was very funny’ (Reuben)

      And finally, ‘Our teacher had to read this book three times today as it is so good’

    16. The Children’s Bookshop Kilbirnie, July 2010

      Mother Frog’s 999 eggs all become little tadpoles at the same time and their pond becomes overcrowded – ‘Can’t move!’ ‘Can’t breathe!’ they croak. And so Father must help them all find a new home. Their journey is fraught with danger from predators and, when Father is snatched by a hungry hawk, the ‘froglets’ come to his rescue in the cutest way, unexpectedly finding their new home in the process.

      This is a delightfully quirky story with drama, tension and a superb in-joke ending that children will adore… It will appeal to everyone over age 5.

    17. John McIntyre, National Radio, June 2010

      I read it recently to some ten and eleven year olds at St Mark’s School in Wellington, because I wanted to just test to see if older kids would get it as well, and they loved it and they laughed all the way through.
      It’s a story of a mother and a father frog and what happens when their 999 tadpoles turn into little froglets and their pond becomes overcrowed. And so they start this long, dangerous journey across a land looking for a new home. As anyone who knows what it’s like to take your children on a journey, there’s a lot of complaining.
      It’s when a hungry hawk snatches up Father frog that the real danger arrives, and his 999 children go on the ride of their lives and they save their father’s life.

    18. Story Time Books for Kids, June 2010

      This is another classic-in-the-making from Gecko Press, this time translated from Japanese, written by Ken Kimura and illustrated by Yasunari Murakami. 999 tadpoles hatch in a little pond, and when they obey their parents’ instruction to grow big and strong, the pond is too small. By the time they are small frogs, it’s obvious that a move is necessary, so off they troop overland. The usual complaints of children on journeys are heard, and dire warnings about snakes uttered by the adults, but after an encounter with a sleeping snake they escape that threat only for Father Frog to be grabbed by a hawk. Mother Frog and a chain of little ones hang on, so that eventually the hawk can hold on no longer and drops the lot, into their new home, a bigger pond. An epic in 40 pages with deceptively simple illustrations.

    19. Tomorrow’s Schools Today, June 2010

      In Spring, Mother Frog laid 999 eggs in a little pond. Now all nine hundred and ninety nine eggs have hatched into tadpoles, they are tiny and full of beans, also suddenly the pond is looking a bit small for everyone. As they grow and turn into frogs, it becomes more apparent that they need a bigger pond. Then one day their mother and father both decide it is time to move.
      It may sound simple enough, but moving ponds can be treacherous for little frogs, with all sorts of dangers to overcome. Will they find a new pond big enough for them all? Will they all make the journey? Also can their large number make a difference?

      It is a book about family bonds, helping each other and finding your place in the world. It is a humorous child-centred story that is great for reading aloud.

    20. Hawkes Bay Today, June 2010

      A very cute and entertaining
      story about Mum and Dad frog and
      their 999 tadpoles.
      Mum and Dad frog are so
      proud of all their babies. The tell
      them to grow big and grow
      strong. Soon all the 999 tadpoles
      had grown into baby frogs and
      they were all squeezed into a little
      Mum and Dad frog decided it
      was time to find a bigger home.
      Dad leads the way followed by
      mum and then the 999 little frogs
      formed a huge line as they set out.
      Mum and Dad frog tell the baby
      frogs to be careful because it is
      dangerous out in the world so the
      frogs hop and hop after their
      parents, eager to find a safe new
      home. Soon they grow tired and
      start asking ‘are we there yet’?
      Suddenly a hawk swoops down
      ad grabs Dad frog. But the hawk
      gets more than he bargained for.
      A fun story with a happy

  • Reviews

    1. catherine

      This is a delightful story — that makes young children laugh — and it’s well coupled with lovely naive illustrations that mirror the increasingly antic plot and its energy and absurdity.

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