TAD and DAD – Perfect Picture Book Friday

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dadTitle: TAD and DAD

Author & Illustrator: David Ezra Stein

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015

Themes: Father/son relationships, frogs & tadpoles, sleeping

Ages: 3-7


My dad has big, buggy eyes,                                                                                            strong legs, and a huge mouth.


Tad wants to do everything with Dad, which means that Dad can’t catch a moment’s peace. Even when it’s time to go to sleep, Tad has a habit of making a big splash when poor old Dad is just trying to nod off. Too much wiggling, croaking, and kicking in his sleep means their lily pad starts feeling mighty crowded! But when Tad actually swims off and lets Dad have some peace and quiet, Dad misses all his splashing around.

Why I like this book:

Stein makes these amphibians so expressive and the story is full of boisterous text and art. That first full spread where the father burps is cute: the contrast of the big frog and tiny tadpole; the dad’s bug-eyed look combined with Tad’s expression of doting admiration. The soft pond pink and green color scheme works well for the humor too.


The facial expressions are hilarious. Dad grows cranky and Stein’s illustrations are fun and funny. Just by changing the dad’s eyes Stein expresses the exhaustion known to all parents of toddlers. The combination of the thick lines and layers of watercolor work well for this pond “I wanna be like Dad” tale. Stein’s reflection on the art for this book is also interesting, “To make the final art for this book, the artist first copied Crayola-marker line drawings onto watercolor paper. Watercolor was added using a single, large, round brush, building up many layers of transparent color. Care was taken to encourage and preserve happy accidents. Crayon was added as an accent.”

It’s a feel good story where we are happy that Dad needs Tad as much as Tad needs Dad.


Definitely could discuss the growth cycle of a tadpole to frog.


Most tadpoles hatch in early May and into June.

Each week a group of bloggers reviews picture books we feel would make great educational reads. To help teachers, caregivers and parents, we have included resources and activities with each of our reviews. A complete list of the thousands of books we have reviewed can be found sorted alphabetically and by topics, here on Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

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8 Responses to TAD and DAD – Perfect Picture Book Friday

  1. I love David Ezra Stein’s picture books. His illustrations have a style of their own. I like how the little frog wants to be just like Dad. Makes for some humorous moments. Wow, I love the two videos you share. The song is catchy. Very educational video showing the transformation from tadpole to frog.

  2. I have such fond memories of catching tadpoles as a kid and watching their amazing transformation! But I’d never thought about the “parent/child” relationship–that David Ezra Stein, so talented! Thanks for sharing and I love the videos!

  3. After reading your review of this book, I’m suddenly remembering the days when my daughter was learning to walk and talk. I don’t recall getting a goodnight’s sleep or a full nap for years! I think I’m going to like this book. The illustrations are so playful. That dash of pink in the illustration you showed adds so much life to the picture!

  4. I enjoy Stein’s books. Just read I’m My Own Dog. I will check this one out. Thanks for the suggestion.

  5. Love the fluidity and ease of Stein’s work that most certainly didn’t come lightly!

  6. this looks like SUCH a fun book! Perfect for Frog Season.

  7. Patricia Nozell says:

    I love Stein’s work & I love the thought of finding frogs during this long, warm holiday weekend. Perfect choice!

  8. Keila Dawson says:

    Sounds like a fun book with a universal theme. And I sure searching for tadpoles and returning day after day anxiously awaiting for them to grow into frogs. Another universal experience. I took enjoy Stein’s books.

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