Between Tads and Toads

Poetry - General
100 Pages
Reviewed on 01/08/2021
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Author Biography

Christine May is an Anglo-Swedish writer, poet and copywriter. No matter what style, she seeks to dig deep in her writing to let the unknown become visible and the truth become known.

Born to a British copywriting father who nurtured her love for the English language, she became an avid reader early on and was translating poetry at a young age. Following studies at Oxford University (St Hilda’s College) and The London Institute, she concluded with an MA in English Literature (from Lund University) and soon after started working with words - copywriting and fiction writing.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Between Tads and Toads is a work of poetic and lyrical storytelling in the animal and nature fiction sub-genre, and was penned by author Christine May. Packed with gorgeous illustrations in a hand-drawn classic style, the story is told entirely in verse but is intended for adult audiences owing to its complex thematic content. Frederic, our central protagonist, is a frog who fails to fit in with the elegant world of pondlings around him, and we follow his exploits as he peeks beneath the veneer of the seemingly perfect world in which he is supposed to find his place. What results is an elegant throwback to some really classic storytelling and themes.

Author Christine May has captured the look, feel, and soul of true classic works with this excellent narrative tale, one which readers could get lost in again and again. It begins with the obvious Wind In The Willows atmosphere of animals in a cultured society, but then elements of P.G. Wodehouse, T.S. Eliot, and Rudyard Kipling begin to insert themselves into the gorgeous verses, serene idylls of the country world, and the construction of a moving and emotive plot around Frederic himself. One of the things which really impressed me about the work was the ease of rhyme and rhythm, with nothing feeling forced in order to bring the story about. The words flow just like the water, the breeze, and the characters do, making Between Tads and Toads a poignant and striking work that will certainly bridge the gap for those seeking modern classics to enjoy.

Jacob R LaMar

Between Tads and Toads is a 100-page poetic storybook for adults. Written by Christine May, the story centers around a frog named Fredrick who struggles to fit in with a pondlings society in the British countryside. Though he does not feel like he fits in with the other tads and toads, Fredrick is portrayed as being a handsome frog with a showy sense of style that displays a tendency to self-critique such as telling himself that he is too fat. The book is written in quatrains with an AABB rhyme scheme. Each page has 2-3 stanzas and is accompanied by a black and white illustration portraying various parts of the pondlings society.

A book with a message, Between Tads and Toads does a good job of providing a satisfying ending by allowing the main character to learn something new in the end, while encouraging readers to also make their life worthwhile by striving for things with heart, not style. While I enjoyed reading this story due to its whimsical writing and childlike energy, I also found it to be best suited for a niche market. It is written in a style that is likely to excite younger readers, though it forms sentences in a way that is for a more mature viewer, and the longer length further lends itself to its older audience. I can be counted within the audience that does enjoy this style of book and I would urge adults to pick up this book and give it a chance. If more readers viewed the world in the light-hearted way Between Tads and Toads portrays it, this world would be a happier place.

Asher Syed

Between Tads and Toads, written by Christine May and illustrated by Yornelys Zambrano, is a work of narrative poetry that revolves around a community of frogs that carry out their day to day lives much in the same way that readers do, with the exception of them being in a state of contentment that seems to have no boundaries. They dress and dine and play games, they go to the ballet and picnic and swim for pleasure, among other wonderful things. However, one frog named Frederic does not find the same enjoyment in the delights of the day that other frogs do as, despite being considered among the finest of all frogs, he suffers from depression, body dysmorphia, detachment, and imposter syndrome. These culminate in an event that displays the real depth of his struggles.

Between Tads and Toads is a creative piece of work and Christine May does a fantastic job in building a world where frogs and toads frolic and play, which is particularly noteworthy given the book's compact size. I did find the stanzas to be quite clunky in several places where the rhythm felt off or awkward. That said, the character development of the text is well executed with a solid and welcome message that May is courageous to address. The true stars of this tale are the illustrations by Yornelys Zambrano, who brings Frederic and his pond to life through a series of sequential sketches that are just gorgeous. The physical elegance of Frederic is on full show and is at a level I could boldly and comfortably align with Tenniel, Sendak, Lobel, and Briggs. A perfect collection of art for a story with a good message for readers both young and old.