Saturday 4 November 2017

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen   {Reviewed by STELLA}
The new picture book from the award-winning duo of Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen is a charmer. I was drawn in by the cover, a wolf between the trees, his two eyes naively drawn on one side of his head. Look a bit closer and you spot the duck and the mouse. The colour palette, sombre blacks, greys and ochres with the occasional lively accent, is classic Klassen. The drawings, with their collage-like characteristics, are atmospheric and playful, and Klassen is adept in capturing the protagonists, giving the story those extra layers of quirkiness. And his style is perfect for this story, a fable-like tale, which starts with misadventure yet becomes a delightful reflection on collaboration, complete with humour. A mouse is travelling through the forest when he meets a wolf and, alas, he is eaten. The wolf, fortunately, swallows this small morsel whole, and just when the poor mouse dreads this is the end, he hears a noise coming from within the belly. A duck is happily ensconced in the belly-home of the wolf, enjoying a very safe and civilised life, yet sometimes giving the poor wolf a guts ache. The duck, a clever fellow, helpfully calls up suggestions for a cure and the companions are well catered-for, including celebratory wine on occasion. All goes along well enough until the hunter comes a-calling…. Delightfully told and wonderfully illustrated with just the right balance of wit and tension, this will be a picture book to enjoy multiple times.

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