Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Children’s Book Review, The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse

Reviewed by Susan Stephenson,

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse is a children’s picture book by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen and published by Walker Books (2017.) RRP: $Au 24.99 HB. I have previously reviewed Barnett and Klassen’s Triangle, and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole.

From the publisher:

When a woeful mouse is swallowed up by a wolf, he quickly learns he is not alone: a duck has already set up digs and, boy, has that duck got it figured out! Turns out it’s pretty nice inside the belly of the beast – there's delicious food, elegant table settings and, best of all, dancing. And there’s something more: no more fear of being eaten by a wolf! Life's not so bad, considering the alternatives.

This children’s picture book reminded me so much of a folk tale. You know the kind, where we suspend disbelief and imagine creatures able to live inside a beast’s belly? When Mouse, full of woe, arrives chez Wolf Belly, Duck is already ensconced and doing very nicely, thank you, with jam, a tablecloth and no fear of being eaten by wolves. (Because he is already inside a wolf!) Kids will adore the dead-pan humour and the fact that the heroes get the better of the “villain”. Those special folk who read aloud to kids will enjoy every bit of a great story, well-told.

Klassen’s illustrations use muted colours and are simply gorgeous. There’ are lots of details to explore both inside and outside of the wolf, and they add to the humour of the story, especially the characters’ eyes. The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse is a lovely physical product with a hard cover inside a quality paper dust jacket. I think it makes a stunning choice for any home or library that wants kids to enjoy reading, and the fun that stories bring.

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