Duck by Janet A Holmes and Jonathan Bentley
|Duck by Janet A Holmes and Jonathan Bentley|
|Category: For Sharing|
|Reviewer: Keith Dudhnath|
|Summary: A gloriously sweet and brilliantly simple tale of a young boy looking for his lost toy. Both text and illustrations are packed with emotion, to make it a must-have for any young child. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 24||Date: April 2009|
|Publisher: Little Hare|
Duck lives with the unnamed boy. Duck thinks the boy is the greatest. He's duck's hero. We know this because the boy tells us so. The two of them do everything together - eat, sleep, bathe. When Duck is sad, the boy holds him. Duck's not scared of anything when the boy is with him. One day Duck goes missing...
I recently reviewed another lost and found book, which lacked a certain spark to separate it from similar books. Duck has sparks in spades. He may just find his missing toy down the back of the sofa, but there is a palpable bond of friendship and love between the boy and Duck. There's a fascinating change in the boy (in both text and illustrations) from the bold statement of I'm Duck's hero, to the realisation that he doesn't even want to eat a chocolate cake without Duck, and then maturity and self-awareness beyond his years to declare Duck's my hero.
Jonathan Bentley's illustrations suit Janet A Holmes' sweet text perfectly. Duck looks yellow, raggedy, loveable, and just like he smells like a blanket. The boy's (cute) boldness and brashness give way to sadness and loneliness. Seeing him hugging his knees, missing his friend, will break your heart. Every page is simply beautiful.
Picture books usually end with being tucked up in bed or living happily ever after. There's nothing wrong with either, but the final page of Duck takes... Am I allowed to say 'denouement' in a review of a book aimed at people who can't read yet? Probably not. The final page is deeply satisfying, for both children and adults. It ties everything up in a neat bow, whilst hinting at so much more. It's packed with emotion and understanding. And it's got a picture of a duck wearing a superhero cape. What more could you want?
Huge thanks to the publishers for sending it to Bookbag.
Any book about ducks can't be mentioned without also mentioning the fantastic Fup by Jim Dodge. They'll need to be a little older before you read it to them, but make sure you do just as soon as they're ready to listen to a longer story. Jez Alborough's Ssssh! Duck Don't Wake the Baby and Fix-It Duck are also worth a look. If books about rabbits (no, ducks! Nuh uh, rabbits!) are more your thing, check out Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld.
You can read more book reviews or buy Duck by Janet A Holmes and Jonathan Bentley at Amazon.com.
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