CM . . . . Volume XXIV Number . . . . November 10, 2017
A bad, big-eyed wolf has gobbled up its prey – first a duck and then a mouse. The surprised mouse hits bottom and finds the duck lying in a comfy little bed. And a bit later they are both sitting at a candle-lit table in the dark confines of the wolf’s belly with a simple meal laid out. The duck says:
From inside, the duck suggests a flagon of wine and some cheese and more candles would provide a cure. These items only make the wolf feel worse, and his loud cries attract a hunter, who tries to shoot the noisy animal. The duck and the mouse defend the wolf, and themselves, by mounting a charge straight from the wolf’s jaws. Carrying the hockey-stick-wielding mouse on its back, the duck flies out with a colander on its head.
The hunter runs away, and the wolf offers his gratitude. The reward for the mouse and the duck? More records (vinyl!) for their indoor dance party as, apparently, they have voluntarily returned to their home in the wolf’s stomach.
Artist Jon Klassen defined quirky with his book about a befuddled bear, I Want my Hat Back. In The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse, the illustrations are in sombre tones of grey and brown (we are, after all, in a dark forest and an even darker wolf’s interior), but the antics of the three animals make for a lively outing.
American writer Mac Barnett has collaborated with Klassen on three previous occasions. He provides the crisp storyline with not a word wasted.
The Wolf, the Duck & the Mouse would be a wonderful read-aloud for younger audiences. Highly recommended for school and public libraries.
Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.