'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 9 May 2011

Review: It's Useful to Have a Duck

Tener Un Patito Es Util is the title of the original board book by Isol, the Argentinian illustrator/author behind this clever and unique children’s story. Translated into English by Elisa Amado, the book becomes It’s Useful to Have a Duck.

The book unfolds like an accordion and can be read from front to back - or from back to front. Front to back tells the story of “It’s useful to have a duck” from the boy’s viewpoint while back to front shares the same events, this time told from the duck’s point of view: “It’s useful to have a boy.”

One side of the book has a simple yellow background, the other side blue, so that the basic line drawings and playful text stand out to engross the reader in the funny little story of what happens when a boy finds a rubber duck. He uses the duck for a number of things, a hat for his head included. Flip the book over and we find that the duck is in fact using the boy’s head to get a better view of the world.

Witty, smart and a tiny bit cheeky, this book will have both adults and children smiling. A great book for toddlers, the pull out style makes it easy for them to flip between the boy’s and duck’s story. The board book itself is sturdy but it also comes packaged in a protective slip box, so it can be left in little hands with confidence.

Adults will enjoy the author’s comment on perspectives, reminding us all how the same events can be perceived very differently from another point of view. The book is also a unique way of teaching children that view points can differ. However, at it’s simplest, It’s Useful to Have a Duck is the delightfully quirky tale of a boy who finds a duck. Or a duck who finds a boy.

It just depends upon how you look at it.

- this review by new KBR contributor Gillian Harrison

Title: It’s Useful to Have a Duck
Author/Illustrator: Isol
Publisher: Allen and Unwin, $14.99 RRP
Australian Publication Date: November 2009
ISBN: 9781742372211
Format: Board Book
For ages: 0-3
Type: Picture Book

Buy this book online