Authors: Susan McLennan & Mike Erskine-Kellie
Illustrator: Cale Atkinson
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Release Date: April 7/20
Thank you to the authors for providing a digital copy.
An exciting day yesterday with the launch of our blog and as Kathie and I have both stated we want to help promote and share Canadian authors, illustrators and books! So I was happy to receive this recently released picture book that has been on my radar.
Our narrator is a very conscientious duck who is excited to be attending a friend’s birthday party with other animal friends. Duck wants us to know that a lot of thought and effort went into getting the perfect present for the friend – which appears not to be the case with some of the other guests attending the party.
What I like about the book is the gender neutrality of the characters which allows readers to be able to see themselves as the main character. Using animals is a clever and common way to avoid having specific gender stereotypes. I find that sometimes this is overlooked and could be used as a point of discussion when talking about the author’s choice of using characters.
The variety of attempts for the perfect gift are brought to life by illustrator extraordinaire Cale Atkinson. The vibrant colours and variety of pages definitely add to the story and readers will enjoy the humour and fun found in the illustrations.
I also appreciated the creativity and perseverance of Duck. I think a lot of young readers will be able to connect to the many different ideas Duck comes up with and relate to when things do not go as planned. The emotion and tone evoked by Mr. Atkinson in the image below would be one I would spend time talking with older readers looking at colour, space, text placement and design. So much to appreciate!
Despite things not going well and having nothing to give to the friend we learn about an unexpected twist as there truly is a present – maybe more than one. A delightful debut by a husband and wife team along with renown storyteller Cale Atkinson – a fine addition to your classrooms and libraries.