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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse

The kids in my household (three and four-years-old) are fans of American author/illustrator Jon Klassen’s poetic quirky Hat trilogy, with award-winning This Is Not My Hat a particular favourite.

Klassen’s latest book, The Wolf, The Duck And The Mouse, is a collaborative effort. The story is written by, Mac Barnett, an American award-winning author for children who has worked with Klassen before. This book is, like the Hat trilogy, Klassen’s distinctive quirky style. The illustrations are a monochrome rough pencil drawing palate, as per his other books. But the story, however, feels darker.

In The Wolf, The Duck And The Mouse, a duck and mouse get swallowed by a wolf, and then decide to live in his belly.

At first, the mouse is sad to be swallowed, but then sees that the duck has set up a home nicely inside the wolf’s belly. Neither of them have any intention of being eaten, they’re just having a lovely time in there… until a hunter shows up and plans to kill the wolf. The duck and mouse mount a charge and save the wolf, and the wolf promises to grant them one wish in return. They choose to stay living in the belly of the wolf.

What I find troubling about this story is that it’s not happily ever after. The wolf suffers from a terrible tummy ache caused by having the duck and the mouse cavorting around in there. I like the subversion of traditional fairy tales, but I’m a little put off that the duck and mouse are choosing to live in the wolf’s beast, even though they know it causes the wolf pain.

Still, this is a quirky, original little book. Told for the most part in snappy, funny, dialogue this makes a great read-aloud story.

REVIEWER: Heidi North-Bailey

TITLE: The Wolf, The Duck and The Mouse

AUTHOR(S): Mac Barnett

EDITOR(S): Jon Klassen

PUBLISHER: Walker Books

RRP: $28.00


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