Book Review: Duck! Rabbit!
By Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
To see a children’s book author in the pocket is a beautiful thing. I think you know what I mean. The creativity and talent are flowing, making each release a cause for excitement. Jan Thomas (The Doghouse) and Emily Gravett (Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears) are recent examples of this “hitting on all cylinders” momentum. Well, make the necessary preparations, because Amy Krouse Rosenthal may soon be joining these ranks. Following the winning Little Pea and Little Hoot, Duck! Rabbit! does pretty much everything right. There’s plenty to like here, and young readers will definitely notice.
The story is simple, yet unique. A white rabbit is presented in profile, with long ears trailing behind. No wait, it’s a duck with with a … large bill? Herein lies the premise – it’s impossible to identify the animal. Two unnamed, off-page characters, each with their own assessment of the duck vs. rabbit debate voice their opinions.
Are you kidding me? It’s totally a duck.
It’s for sure a rabbit.
While the discussion rages, the duck/rabbit casually goes about it’s business. Eventually, the arguing scares the animal off, leaving the reader to decide the final verdict. But worry not, because a new hard to identify animal appears to rekindle the debate.
While the unseen opponents don’t speak directly to the audience, readers will be pulled into the story nonetheless. Everyone will choose their side – be it duck or be it rabbit. The overall effect is that of the reader being given a voice in the story itself.
Lichtenheld’s artwork is a mix of bold and gentle. A mix of ink, watercolor, and colored pencil, thick black outlines make the duck/rabbit stand out, while the backgrounds contain a minimum of objects, eliminating distractions from the story.
Having created a series of quality titles, Duck! Rabbit! fits right into Rosenthal’s first-rate portfolio. A clever premise, well executed. This one is a must purchase.
Watch the very well-done Duck! Rabbit! book trailer:
Also reviewed by Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast (which is where I found the above spread), Young Readers, Three Silly Chicks, A Year of Reading.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
Filed under: *Best New Books*, Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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