The Heron and the Crane by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake

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The Heron and the Crane by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake

Category: For Sharing
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Ruth Ng
Reviewed by Ruth Ng
Summary: Rather odd premise for a children's picture book, but somehow it manages to work - this one grew on me, getting better at each read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 32 Date: February 2011
Publisher: Andersen
ISBN: 978-1849392006

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Heron and Crane live at opposite ends of the swamp. One day Crane decides that he is lonely and he would like to get married. Heron seems the only suitable potential mate, and so he makes his way over to propose. Heron, taken completely by surprise, reacts badly to this sudden proposal and rejects Crane, rather insultingly. Poor Crane. As he makes his way home, Heron is overcome with guilt and decides perhaps she would like to marry him after all.

I read this without my daughter at first, and I must say I was a little surprised by the story. After Heron rejects Crane, she then goes over to apologise and ask if he will marry her after all, but he is cross and proud and sends her on her way, in floods of tears. Crane then decides to go back to see Heron again to apologise, but as soon as he gets there she starts shouting at him! Seeing Crane go back looking so sad and forlorn, Heron regrets her haste and once again and goes back to see him to apologise, but once again Crane is too proud and angry to listen to her, and thus their courtship continues forevermore!

I wasn't sure that my four year old would follow all this very well, but actually she found it quite funny. Reading it aloud to her also added a little something extra to the story too, and I much preferred it the second time through. There is one moment I wasn't keen on, when Heron sees Crane walk off dejected and feels bad about her behaviour and says And what if he should do something terrible! Why, he may even throw himself into the swamp and drown! I'm not sure suicide is something I want to discuss with a four year old, but fortunately we managed to pass by that page without any 'Mommy....why did the Heron say that?' questions arising.

Quentin Blake's illustrations are what really make the story work, I think. I loved all the expressions on the Heron and Crane's faces, and they support the comedy of the Crane and Heron walking back and forth all the time. The subject matter puts this picture book perhaps into an older children's category - it is, after all, a story about rejection and pride. I don't think many two and three year olds would follow it, so my buy and borrow recommendations are for those intending it for a slightly older audience, though at first glance it does look like a pre-school picture book. It is a little odd, but it's a grower...I like it better each time I read it!

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

Further reading suggestion:

For another collaboration between John Yeomans and Quentin Blake see The Bear's Water Picnic by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake.

Buy The Heron and the Crane by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Heron and the Crane by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Heron and the Crane by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Heron and the Crane by John Yeoman and Quentin Blake at Amazon.com.


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