Teeny Tiny Toady
Author: Jill Esbaum
Illustrator: Keika Yamaguchi
Published: March 1, 2016 by Sterling Children’s Books
Goodreads Summary: When a giant hand scoops up her mama and puts her in a pail, a terrified tiny toad named Teeny hops faster than she ever did in her life. “Mama’s stuck inside a bucket! Help me get her out!” she begs her big, clumsy brothers. “Don’t you worry, kid. We’ll save her!” they promise, bumbling and stumbling and jumbling out the door. But as the boys rush headlong to the rescue, pushing their little sister aside, it becomes clear: brawn isn’t always better than brains—and the smallest of the family may just be the smartest one of all. Written in lilting verse.
Ricki’s Review: I should be honest that frogs and toads are my favorite animal. I love everything about them! Reading this book was such a joy. I loved how the words danced across the page. If you look at the image below, you will see the way the words pop. The toads are personified in a way that makes me smile. They high five, cheer, hold each other up, etc. Teeny may be little, but she is fierce. It takes her some time to realize that she has valuable ideas. I enjoy teaching my son to be critical of gender as we read this book, and I particularly enjoyed the feminist theme.
Kellee’s Review: I should be honest that frogs and toads are one of my least favorite animals. However, that did not keep me from loving this book! Ricki touched on much of what is superb about the book including the onomatopoeias throughout, the way the words hop like toads all over the page, and the joyousness of these toads’ family. I also particularly enjoyed the theme of this book–it definitely shows how you shouldn’t underestimate people especially if you are basing it off of a prejudicial stereotype. It also I plan on using this for one of my precept/theme activities with my students because I feel there is so much that could be discussed in this teeny, tiny book.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This story would be great to use in a creative writing class. The author and illustrator cleverly craft the phrasing and presentation of the story, and this will be inspirational for writers and illustrators. Teachers might also use this text to teach personification, onomatopoeias, and effective use of rhyme.
Discussion Questions: When does Teeny realize that her ideas are valuable? How does her size impact how she feels about herself?; Are there other ways that Teeny could have gotten her family out of the bucket? Try to think of as many ways as you can and how they would have impact the telling of the story.
Read This If You Loved: The Frog and Toad series; Stick by Steve Green; Green Wilma by Tedd Arnold
**Thank you to Josh at Sterling Books for providing copies for review!**