________________ CM . . . . Volume xxi Number 15 . . . . December 12, 2014



Dave Atkinson.
Halifax, NS: Nimbus, 2014.
140 pp., trade pbk., html & mobi, $9.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-77108-219-8 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-77108-220-4 (html), ISBN 978-1-77108-221-1 (mobi).

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Julianne Mutimer.

*** /4


“Whooooo?” It was asking. It was asking her who she was and who she wanted to be. She knew exactly who she was. She had always known. And here she was, finally being asked. “Quack,” she replied quietly.


Kate has always had a thing for ducks, an admiration of their “quiet dignity”, and a wish to be a duck. There’s just one problem – Kate is a werewolf; or, at least she is destined to become one on her thirteenth birthday. When the call of the moon comes on the eve of her birthday, Kate knows exactly who she is, and that person is about to be put to the test. Atkinson’s Wereduck is a unique and fairly gentle coming-of-age story suitable for children 8 to 12-years-old. It’s told via a lively and humorous narrative and is constructed in short chapters suitable to its nimble pace. The plot and characters are not overly intricate, but rather unfold themselves swiftly in a way that will appeal to most readers, and specifically reluctant readers.

     Atkinson is a freelance journalist, columnist, and broadcaster – a fact that makes the fun he pokes at the sleazy reporter character in Wereduck that much more delightful. The strengths of the book lie in its brevity, its lively and pleasant manner, and its more substantial theme of self-exploration (which is touched on in a very refreshing and none-too-weighty way).

     Wereduck falls short when it comes to character development. Characters are not complex, and some rely entirely on stereotypes; however, the book is quite short and primarily plot driven – there is not much room to delve too deeply into the character’s psyches. Readers looking for something more complex and challenging will not be satisfied by this title. Nonetheless, the humour and writing style make this book an excellent read-aloud for teachers, librarians, parents, and students to share together. Alternatively, it would make a great solo read.

     Wereduck is an engaging, entertaining, and well-told book suitable for its target audience; it deserves a spot on the shelves of classrooms and libraries amongst other enjoyable – if not entirely literary – titles for young readers.


Julianne Mutimer is a children’s librarian with Surrey Libraries in Surrey, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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