________________ CM . . . . Volume XXII Number 24. . . .February 26, 2016


Quackers Wants to Fly.

Susan Wolff. Illustrated by Justin Currie.
n.p., susanwolff490@gmail.com or Susan Wolff, 490 Shannon Road, Deerfield, IL 60015, 2015.
32 pp., pbk., $15.95.
ISBN 978-0-692-42932-7.

Preschool-kindergarten / Ages 4-5.

Review by Sae Yong Kim.

*** /4


At the pond, the ducks call to Quackers.
“Come fly with us.”
Quackers tries. He waddles. He quacks. He flaps. But he can't fly.
“That's my problem,” Quackers cries. “I can't fly.”


Quackers is a duckling who can do many things, but he can't fly yet. His parents love him for who he is and tell him to be patient, but Quackers doesn't want to wait. When he goes seeking advice from his friends at the pond, however, they all tell him in their own way that flight will come in its own good time. Quackers finds a duckling friend to wait with, and they spend their time together patiently until, finally, both of them are ready to fly.

     The text of Quackers Wants to Fly reads like a transcript of an oral storytelling performance. When read by sight, it seems a little awkward and clunky, but when read aloud, the reader falls naturally into a well paced rhythm, with appropriate pauses for emphasis and bodily gestures created by the turning of pages and the spacing of text. The illustrations, which make generous use of the space on both pages, take on the role that might be played by a hand puppet in a storytelling performance, drawing attention to the text by acting out each word. As such, the style and artistry of the illustrations are less important than the clear demonstration of action and the emphasis on a single focal point. Both are fulfilled competently by the clean, rounded illustrations which are probably created digitally. In style, they are reminiscent of hand drawn animation cells of older Disney works (think picture books of Disney's Bambi and Snow White). Content wise, the story is set in a generic pond environment where a goldfish/red carp, an owl, a gray goose, a swarm of bees, and a dragonfly can be encountered. It is not set in an identifiable real life ecosystem, and so don't expect a great deal of accuracy as to the details of flora and fauna. It would be a great book for read-alouds.

     One odd element which detracts from the reading, though, is the unpredictable bold text. Quackers' name and the names of other characters are bolded on and off and a few lines of dialogue, both inconsistently and in places where emphasis would not be necessary.


Sae Yong Kim is a new MLIS who works as a casual youth librarian in British Columbia.

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

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